- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Topeka Police Department will remove some officers from the local school district because it’s providing far more than its contract requires, the new police chief said.

Soon after James Brown became chief in October he informed the Topeka School District of his intentions, The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/1yurCQV ) reported. Each year the school district signs a contract with the police department to boost its own 12-person police force.

Last year’s contract called for the department to provide four officers to the school district for a fee of $366,000; instead, it’s been providing 11. Brown has pulled two officers from the district and said he plans to remove more.

Superintendent Julie Ford said her district can’t pay $366,000 a year for fewer services than it previously received. She said she was “taken aback” when Brown notified the district of his plans.

“Officers in those schools are able to establish and maintain positive relationships with students, and create an environment of trust that can last into the student’s adult years,” Ford wrote in a letter to Brown and City Manager Jim Colson on Friday. “What better place to promote neighborhood policing than in neighborhood schools across the Topeka community?”

Ron Brown, head of the district’s police department, said he and his staff would make the best of the situation.

“The Topeka police officers are very important to the overall safety and security of Topeka Public Schools,” Brown said. “If Chief Brown chooses to pull some of those officers, we will continue to do the very best we can with the number of officers we have remaining.”

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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