From the City Manager's Desk

December 26, 2017

Citizen input on TPD Chief search released

Topeka City Manager Brent Trout is continuing his search for the next Topeka Police Chief. On December 5th, Mr. Trout announced a website and email address where citizens could send him their comments about what qualities they would like to see in the next police chief. Mr. Trout has reviewed all of these comments and has had staff compile the comments to be released to the public. 
Many respondents are concerned with the police chief as an extension of the police department’s priorities as a whole. Those comments are included along with the comments on the police chief’s individual character traits.
The hiring source of the new police chief was a common topic with some people wanting to see an outside the force hire and others preferring an internal hire. The handling of specific criminal issues, including drug activity and gang activity were two of the biggest concerns from the comments. Police accountability, communication with the public and transparency were highlighted as something that citizens wanted to see more of. Open communication between the police chief and citizens was highlighted as something that citizens would like to have. Diversity of the police force was the last concern; citizens want to see a police force that looks like the population of Topeka.

Foley the Sloth born at the Topeka Zoo. 

A Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth born at the Topeka Zoo on Saturday is clinging to mom and doing everything a baby sloth should do. When new mom Jacque showed her new baby to the Zoo’s Animal Care Staff, the baby sloth was alert and clinging to mom in a good nursing position. Both mom and baby appear to be bright and alert and doing great.
The baby was named Foley by the primary Zoo Keeper that works in the Zoo’s Tropical Rain Forest.
There are currently four sloths living in the Zoo’s Tropical Rain Forest.  They include mother Jacque (age 27), father Mocha (age 19), Newt (age 1) and the newborn Foley.  This is the 15th offspring of Jacque’s and the fourth of Mocha’s. 
The Topeka Zoo has a long successful history with sloth reproduction largely due to the rain forest environment the sloths live in at the zoo.  Zoo staff monitored the pregnancy closely but had high confidence that mom knew exactly what to do.
Native to a small area of Central and South America, Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloths are threatened by deforestation issues.  Sloths are known for their slow moving, solitary arboreal behavior.  Sloths do everything upside down – including eating, sleeping, mating and even giving birth.

 Recent Updates 

  • The Topeka Police Department arrested one suspect for 2015 homicide of Lily Coats-Nichols.
  • SW 6th Street between SW Gage and SW Fairlawn will be winterized this week and project shut down until warmer weather.
  • SW Oakley between 10th and 12th was opened to traffic on Tuesday, December 19th.
  • The Budget Division continues to build the proposed capital improvement plan to be reviewed by the internal CIP Committee in January. The calendar for the CIP process is found at
  • The Washington Street project between 8th and 10th is being shut down during the upcoming cold snap. Subgrade issues have surfaced and staff is working with the design consultant on recommendations to address the issues.
  • The Street Department crack sealed 78,000 linear feet (1,356,900 linear feet year-to-date) and mastic sealed 18,000 linear feet (406,261 linear feet year-to-date).

Topeka Fire Department graduates new recruits

The Topeka Fire Department congratulates its new recruit class that graduated on December 16th. The new recruits have been assigned to companies after graduation. 
Congratulations to new firefighters Justin Thimmesch, Jace Holmes, Kyle Soldani, Lance Garner, Austin Phillips, Matthew Dickerson, Khaleb Adams and Thomas Muiller. 

Coming up

• If temperatures are below freezing, the crew will be treating all City of Topeka bridges and prepare the Lakewood Yard, located on the north side of 21st St. between S. Kansas Ave. and SE Adams, for snow storage.
• The Zoo is gearing up for Winter Break Camp which is a single day camp program that runs between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Eighty of the one-hundred available spots are sold out.
• December 26th - Meeting with Topeka Shawnee County Public Library to discuss collaboration in sharing City of Topeka information via Topeka Shawnee County Public Library communication tools.
• January 31st - Neighborhood Improvement Association Neighborhood Leaders Meeting.


Brent Trout 

This weekly report is presented to you from the office of City Manager Brent Trout.
This report was produced through our open data portal. We have several other open data portals to help connect you with the work we do, including portals that let you: