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Archive for Friday, October 28, 2005

Ex-KBI official to lead review of troubled Topeka police unit

October 28, 2005

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— A city official has asked a retired Kansas Bureau of Investigation administrator to lead a review of policies and procedures of the police department's drug unit after officers were accused of misconduct.

Neil Dobler, Topeka's acting city manager, announced Wednesday that he had appointed former KBI Deputy Director Terry Knowles to lead the review, which is expected to take six to eight weeks. Two other law enforcement professionals will assist Knowles.

"It's not the goal of this group to ferret out bad cops," Dobler said. "It's simply an opportunity to look at the rules and procedures that are in place that help the administration find those folks that can't live by the rules."

The review follows a report released last week by Dist. Atty. Robert Hecht that said narcotics officers regularly tampered with drug evidence and falsified records. Hecht also said top Topeka police officials, including Chief Ed Klumpp, knew about problems in the narcotics unit by 2003, yet no officers were disciplined.

The report was released two days after Klumpp, 56, announced he would retire in December for personal and financial reasons.

Dobler said the goal of the review is to make the department more credible.

"In order to do that, we feel this process is necessary not only for the public but also for the prosecutors that end up prosecuting the cases," Dobler said.

The review will be the second of the drug unit in the past 18 months. Klumpp said the department already has enacted many of the recommendations that administrators from the Salina and Kansas City, Kan., police department made in May 2004 after conducting an evaluation of the unit.

"I think it is a good time now to see how the implementation of those changes have impacted the unit," Klumpp said. "I think it's a great approach. I think the approach of having it administered out of the city manager's office is vital from the aspect of trying to regain the trust of the public."

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