TOPEKA (KSNT) – A former Topeka Police officer was decertified April 11, 2023, after misusing his position to form a romantic relationship with a 17-year-old girl, according to state records.
It all came about after the girl’s father made a formal complaint to the Topeka Police Department (TPD) that Timothy Morrison was “sneaking around” and his daughter was “practically sitting in (Morrison’s) lap,” according to Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (KCPOST) case documents. Morrison was 38 years old at the time of the complaint.
The documents said that Morrison met the girl at the mall while working off-duty security. The girl was working inside the mall.
KCPOST listed at least four occasions Morrison and the girl saw each other:
- Picking her up from school
- Taking her to breakfast
- Delivering food to her house while in uniform
- Picking her up when she was thinking about running away
Morrison told investigators his intention was to gain her trust and develop his relationship with her, the state report said. He told the girl that informing her parents or the TPD of the runaway would hurt the relationship.
“Morrison testified that he saw himself as a friend and mentor to (the girl) and intended to keep her out of trouble and on the right track. He noted that his role was similar to work he did for (a) church’s youth group,” the case document said.
Morrison did not try to take her to church and the KPOST document said his one-on-one interactions weren’t consistent with the church guidelines for adult volunteers.
According to the documents, which were used to justify his losing the ability to wear a badge, Morrison also admitted to:
- Kissing the girl
- Hugging the girl
- Calling the girl to wake her up in the morning
- Texting the girl
- Sending the girl photos on Snapchat while on duty
- Disclosing confidential juvenile information on her boyfriend
- Talking to the girl about a case where she was the victim of a sexual assault
The relationship stopped in 2019, “when (the girl’s) father discovered them together in Morrison’s truck,” KCPOST case documents said. “Morrison stated that was when he first realized his relationship with (the girl) might appear to others to be inappropriate.” Both Morrison and the girl denied having a sexual relationship.
TPD and KCPOST Investigator Michael Oliver believed Morrison tried to hide the relationship via this text message to the girl: “So I’m going to have to deal with that. I’m going to tell them I was taking you to breakfast. That work for you?”
Morrison was terminated from the TPD after being charged with a misdemeanor charge of criminal record dissemination violation and official misconduct; using confidential information for personal gain, according to case documents.
Spiker didn’t answer questions about TPD policy on information leaked from police databases, on whether the city considers Morrison’s actions to be police misconduct or on city policy to report police misconduct. Spiker also couldn’t identify Morrison from a swearing-in photo shared by the City of Topeka’s Facebook page taken April 5, 2018.
Morrison was employed as an officer from Oct. 23, 2017 to July 15, 2020. His firing was not made public until the state released the report of findings that led to his decertification on April 11, 2023.
The city provided the following response to KSNT 27 News:
The actions of this former employee are dishonorable, and should not reflect on the hardworking and dedicated men and women of the Topeka Police Department (TPD). The City of Topeka and TPD cooperated fully with KSCPOST on this matter. Upon becoming aware of the citizen complaint in September of 2019, the city and TPD took swift action. Morrison was immediately placed on administrative leave, and both an internal administrative investigation and external criminal investigation began.City of Topeka Spokesperson Gretchen Spiker
KSNT 27 News tried to reach out to Morrison for comment by phone and through his attorney in the KCPOST case, Thomas Lemon, but haven’t received any responses.