Second Topeka forum on community relations, policing to take place Monday

Event to be held at library

City officials listened to the public express frustration with the Topeka Police Department and city leadership during a forum in December. A second forum will be held Monday at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. (December 2017 file photo/The Capital-Journal)

A group formed in response to the fatal police shooting of Dominique White is hosting a second forum to discuss initiatives aimed at increasing transparency and improving the relationship between police and the Topeka community.

 

The event will take place from 6 to 8:45 p.m. on Monday Jan. 22 in Marvin Auditorium at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.

The group said topics that may come up include the establishment of a citizens review board, de-escalation training, body camera legislation and how to foster dialogue between officers and citizens.

More than 160 people attended the December forum where White’s stepfather spoke. Kansas state Rep. John Alcala, of Topeka, criticized the lack of transparency in releasing body camera footage and several others voiced concerns about city leadership.

“We had a frank dialogue about what it means to lose confidence in our community and what actions we could take to begin healing,” organizer Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan said in a news release. “This month we will stand together to explore community-driven initiatives which address those issues and advance the safety and happiness of our neighborhoods.”

Since the first forum, body camera videos showing White’s death have been made available to the public and Michelle De La Isla was sworn in as mayor of Topeka.

However Oglesby-Dunegan said city leadership still isn’t working and the community needs to step up.

“It is 2018 and it is clear that the same top-down leadership style which brought our city to this point will serve us no longer,” Oglesby-Dunegam said. “Now it is the community’s turn to do our part to help Topeka become a city where we can be proud to live and work and raise our children, and it is our leadership’s turn to grow with us into a greater standard of transparency and accountability.”

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