Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Council Candidates Talk Crime Worries

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Council Candidates Talk Crime Worries

Article excerpt

Two candidates for the Topeka City Council's District 5 seat suggested differing approaches Monday to dealing with the city's violent crime problems.

"Plain and simple, more officers on the street," said Brett Daniel Kell. "Also focusing on the 'hotspot' areas of the city."

Scott Bowman said he would work with the police chief hired by new city manager Brent Trout to replace outgoing interim chief Kris Kramer, who retires Friday, to fund and expand community policing, and to request federal prosecution.

"Gun crimes are a great example in that they are easy to prove," he said. "Possession of a handgun plus being on paper for a felony is equal to hard time. This approach has worked well in the Hi-Crest area and can work equally well across the rest of Topeka."

Bowman and Kell typed up their answers while taking part in an hour-long live blog held at noon by CJOnline, which gave the public a chance to ask questions of candidates for the city running in next week's Nov. 7 election to represent District 5 in south Topeka.

Work commitments prevented the one other District 5 candidate, Michael Padilla, from taking part.

But Padilla addressed the crime question in a statement sent to The Capital-Journal later Monday, stressing he was a Topeka police officer for 34 years. He said he knows from experience any predetermined plan will have to change.

"I also know that additional officers will help, but that is just a piece of the solutions that need to be considered in addressing all the aspects of crime," Padilla said. "I am certainly not saying that only policemen have the answers, but certainly my experience will go a long way to understanding the current operations and capabilities of the TPD when combined with an informed and active public as partners."

District 5 is currently represented by Michelle De La Isla, who is giving up her council seat to run for mayor.

Topeka Capital-Journal opinion editor Matt Johnson moderated Monday's discussion, a transcript of which can be found accompanying the online version of this article.

Kell said he considered the city's key problems to be its roads, crime rate and job accessibility. …

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