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Discussions of Topeka Police policies continue at the Police and Community Committee meeting

Topeka Police Dept.
Topeka Police Dept.
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 10:09 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Police And Community Committee formed late last year as incidents nationwide raised questions about Topeka Police Department practices.

“Most of us got over a thousand emails, the citizens spoke up, loud and clear and frequently in emails, they came to council meetings, we had a special meeting specifically for public input and this committee was convened afterward,” said councilwoman Hiller.

Tuesday, the committee addressed some of those concerns including the use of no knock warrants. The city council banned them last summer, even though the department hasn’t practiced it in years.

“In prior years when it was an available tool for police officers but that was the discussion today was numbers before and what’s been going on since the ordinance has been passed by the governing body,” said Interim Police Chief Bryan Wheeles.

Some community members were also concerned about the use of choke holds -- Interim Chief Wheeles says T-P-D only authorizes the tactic when an officer is in fear of his own life.

“Its not trained, its not taught so when the council decided to move forward and do some exploration on this, it was pretty easy answers for us, historically that’s the case, its not a trained tactic and that’s how its been in the policy for a long time.”

This was Wheeles’ first committee meeting As Interim Police Chief and he’s looking forward to continuing the discussions.

“I think its very important for the governing body and the community to lay put these expectations in regards to individual behavior and governance with law enforcement being a big aspect of that, so I hope that’s what we get out of discussion.”

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