Shawnee County Commission looking into Parks and Rec.’s police force’s funding

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The Shawnee County Commission is taking a look into whether the Park Police is worth keeping.

The police force covers 120 Shawnee County parks and lakes.

There are two full-time and four part-time employees.

Park Police Chief Michael Cope says they help make people feel safe when they are there.

“Just that visual deterrent for the crime and knowing that we are going to do something when we discover it or it’s reported to us,” said Cope.

He says the 2019 budget is almost $300,000 and 93% is for salaries.

Shawnee County Commissioner Kevin Cook is looking into whether or not the department is still needed.

“I think what we need to look at is what is the best use of our tax dollars. We have Parks Police patrolling 120 parks throughout Shawnee County and what is it the best need of the taxpayers,” said Cook.

Cope says if the commission gets rid of the department, then Topeka Police and the Sheriff’s Office would have to take over.

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