Highland Park wants better community policing

TOPKEA (KSNT) – The Highland Park neighborhood is in the process of rebuilding itself and its image.

With a new Wal-Mart up and running to the grand reopening of the community’s new Dillon’s grocery store. This neighborhood is on its way to a successful rehabilitation.

Something the community does not see is Topeka police officers closely familiar with their neighborhood’s problems.

“The community police officers are very important,” said Bev Schneider, president of the Highland Park NIA. “We see how necessary they are in our community.”

At tonight’s Highland Acres “Kitchen Table Discussion” the members of this community were able to meet the city’s new Chief of Police … James Brown.

“The experience over the last 30 days has been tremendous.” Said James Brown, Topeka Police Chief. “I have learned a lot, I have been accepted by the community, by the officers. It has been a really good fit for me and my family.”

Brown puts a lot of emphasis on community policing where officers know the trouble spots and know the people. These businessmen and homeowners, however say it’s not working.

They want to know what they can do as a neighborhood to make community officers want to stay.

Brown says he understands the need, but it’s a matter of finding the “right” officer.

“Community policing in a calling. So those that gravitate towards community policing are our hard charging officers,” said Brown.

He says the reality is most officers in the department only spend a year in community policing, then move up within the ranks if the department.

Finding a compromise between what the people want and what this Chief can do won’t be simple.

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