Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Brown Preparing for Job as City's New Police Chief ; New Head of Department Will Be in Charge Effective Oct. 1

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Brown Preparing for Job as City's New Police Chief ; New Head of Department Will Be in Charge Effective Oct. 1

Article excerpt

Less than a week after he was announced as the new Topeka police chief, James L. Brown is already house hunting.

Brown, who will be joining the department the first week of October, said he and his wife will be meeting with a realtor after his interviews today.

"Cheryl and I are very, very excited ... I'd like to make the move sooner than later. We already have our house on the market," Brown said. "We're looking for a home here so I can make the transition and become truly embedded in the community."

Despite living in Kansas City, Kan., Brown has spent 20 years getting to know Topeka through his work with the Air National Guard.

Brown, who will be leaving his job as the assistant police chief for the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, plans on working with interim police chief Tony Kirk Sr. during the next several months.

He is the second chief the city's department will have from Kansas City, Kan.

Former police chief Ron Miller came from the same department as Brown in 2006.

During his transition time, Brown will be dealing with personnel paperwork from both departments but he has trained his focus on getting a plan ready to implement when he begins work.

"I think community policing is where most of my strategies are going to be focused around," he said.

While working on a plan, Brown said he and Kirk will meet with city leaders so the needs of the community can be addressed. These discussions will be a supplement to some of the conversations he had during the last several months.

During the application process, Brown said he learned about what community leaders think about the department.

"I did ask some questions regarding what we could do better and what we do great, and so I do have some things in mind that maybe I'd like to tackle in the first six months," he said.

Brown didn't expand on areas community members called out as trouble spots, he did say the people he met with said the department, "does a good job of handling calls for service and responsive to the community need."

During his discussions with community members, Brown said residents were able to recognize the officers assigned to their areas of town, and he thinks that relationship between police and citizens is important.

Along the way, Brown said he will be meeting with Kirk to see how the department's current practices will fit with his new ideas.

Kirk, who also was a finalist for the top job, has been with the department for 28 years.

Even though he wasn't promoted, Kirk said he isn't leaving his job as deputy chief when Brown starts in October.

"I am not retirement eligible yet. But even if I was, I'd stay on," he said. "A decision was made and we are going to move forward from that. …

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