Officer involved shooting has Topeka Police wanting to get more officers on the streets

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The Topeka Police Department continues to investigate a carjacking and an officer involved shooting from Friday night.

The incident happened in what many are calling a safe neighborhood, near Hy-Vee grocery store.

The carjacking happened at the 24-hour Hy-Vee gas station in Topeka. It then became a chase and an officer involved shooting that tied up a major highway overpass in Topeka for nearly 12-hours.

Topeka police tell KSNT News incidents like this is why they are focusing on getting more officers on the street.

“We recognize that we need to get more officers on the street,” said Col. Brian Desch, deputy chief of the Topeka Police Department.

From the police’s perspective, Friday night’s shooting sends the wrong message that the streets of Topeka are running wild with crime. It’s partly why the Topeka Police Department is focusing more than ever to get more officers on the street.

Chief Police James Brown has pushed the plan since taking several officers out of Topeka schools and placing them back on the city’s streets in December.

“Right now we have an academy class that was hired last year. That class has nine officers in it and they are scheduled to be released on their own in the beginning of July. And another two from some other units,” said Desch.

It will help with problems which have cropped up so far this month, higher than normal car thefts and home robberies.

More cops on the street is a message Topekans agree with.

I think it is safe, I think that was just one incident,” said Larry Beck, motorist.

“I feel pretty safe, I don’t run into any problems, I hear about them all the time but that doesn’t stop me from going,” said Madeline Homewood, motorist.

Desch tells KSNT News that part of the trouble in getting more officers on the street is that it can take nearly a year to train a new officer, and each academy class has more openings than actual students.

According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, three Topeka police officers and one capital police officer are on paid administrative leave following Friday nights shooting.

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