Topeka City Council backs police chief pulling officers from schools

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Topeka Police Chief James Brown told the Topeka City Council he doesn’t have the manpower to keep current staffing levels in Topeka schools – and still make a dent in crime on the street.

“When the citizens say it took over an hour for the officer to get to these type of calls they are 100 percent correct it is taking us a while,” said Chief James Brown, Topeka Police Department.

City Council members say they support the changes the chief is making in the way Topeka police provides service to the community.

“I’m going to respect your decisions. I appreciate you going through everything with a fine tooth comb,” said Sylvia Ortiz, Topeka City Council.

Topeka 501 School District administrators are unhappy with the decision, and says having the officers in the schools makes them – and students – feel safe.

This past January, they say – Topeka west high school received a gun threat and because a school resource officer was in the building they were able to respond quickly.

“The information that was discovered and worked to prevent some serious incidents in one of our high schools,” said Julie Ford, Superintendent, Topeka USD 501.

At the center of this issue is a contract that the previous superintendent and police chief made.

The department currently provides 10 SRO’s to the school district, where Chief Brown argues the contract requires just four.

“Change is difficult and I get that, but what I can see we hired the right person to be our police chief,” said Chad Manspeaker, Topeka City Council.

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