TPD says restructuring department will make community safer

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Changes are happening at the Topeka Police Department and law enforcement officers say they are going to make the community safer.

“It makes things safer because we can respond with more officers,” said Topeka Police Sergeant Ed Stanley.

Chief Bill Cochran unveiled the reorganization of the department to the Topeka City Council Tuesday night.

Changes include officers working 10 hour shifts instead of eight hour shifts, as well as changing the structure of specific departments and increasing community initiatives.

Sgt. Stanley said the shift change allows officers more days off and in turn more time with their families.

“The moral is a lot higher than it used to be,” said Sgt. Stanley. “We’re seeing younger officers want to be in field operations as opposed to going to specialty units.”

Deputy Chief Bryan Wheeles said in this case, change is good.

“Beyond the benefits to the individual officers, we believe there’s a benefit to the community as far as coverage from patrol officers, response to calls and those kind of efficiency mechanisms that we looked at when we looked at this evaluation process,” said Deputy Chief Wheeles.

There are currently 29 open positions for sworn officers at the Topeka Police Department.

Deputy Chief Wheeles said they hope these changes as well as an academy class in May, will positively impact that number.

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