Topeka Police Chief addresses Hi-Crest gang violence

TOPEKA (KSNT) — For the first time since the recent outbreak of violence in the Hi-Crest neighborhood, the Topeka Police Chief addressed the Topeka City Council.

Topeka Police Chief James Brown cut right to the chase when addressing the council Tuesday night, saying gang violence is the number one reason for the recent shootings in Hi-Crest.

“It is unfortunate that a small group of individuals have been able to commit so much havoc in the capital city in such a short period of time,” says Chief Brown, “and these are very violent, dangerous individuals that have no regard for human life.”

A small group of more than 200 gang members are causing violence in the capital city. Because of the recent shootings, Topeka police have increased their patrols in the area and Chief Brown has called for additional help from the Kansas Highway Patrol, Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and ATF.

Topeka City Council members say the police are doing a good job in keeping the city safe.

“Saturday I was in Hi-Crest and there were like four cars in front of Avondale [East Elementary School], and when I was leaving there were two more cars coming in. So there obviously is a presence, and I just want to say thank you,” said councilwoman Michelle De La Isla.

“I know that a lot of the community organizations are working with you and we appreciate that,” said Mayor Larry Wolgast, “because it is not just something we are doing, working harder, but it has to be a community effort.”

They also commended Chief Brown for getting out in the neighborhood himself.

“He’s been walking the beat, he’s been riding the beat, he’s been up, he’s been side by side with your men and that says a lot for you,” said councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz.

Chief Brown noted that until this recent increase in violence, he only had six officers working specifically on combating gang activity and has now added two more.

“I am going to TDY [temporary duty yonder] them for a month or two, to assist with all of the investigations that we got going on right now, just to act as a force multiplier to that gang unit,” Chief Brown said.

In the last 72 hours, six arrests in four different shootings have been made in connection to the violence in the Hi-Crest area.

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