Keeping the police safe in Topeka

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Sarah Jepson is not only a sister of a Topeka police officer — but a wife.

“I remember the night that Jeff Atherly and Dave Gogian were killed. And he was getting his things on to go into work and I said you can’t go to work that guy is still out there but he said … It’s my job,” Sarah Jepson, President of the Topeka Police Department Auxiliary.

Their job is to protect and to serve, but their safety is always on the minds of their families – and their commanders.

“We are concerned about our officers and their safety,” said James Brown, Topeka Police Chief.

In many communities and neighborhoods around the country the issue of how police officers and civilians relate to each other is now a national debate.

“Up until three years ago I thought these officer shootings only happened in big cities. That doesn’t happen in Topeka Kansas,” said Jepson.

But the deaths of Atherly and Gogian in 2012 and Corporal Jason Harwood earlier this year has proven Jepson – tragically – wrong.

That’s why chief brown has made it an ongoing goal to strengthen the relationship between the community and his officers.

“Myself and the deputy chief Tony Kirk we met today with the black ministers association here in Topeka Kansas to try and figure out better ways to develop strategies and move forward as an organization,” said Chief Brown.

Chief Brown says one way to ensure the safety of his officers is to patrol them two to a car. It seems like a small move… but to the families an important one…because…

“When he leaves I don’t know if he is going to come back,” said Jepson.

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