After Topeka witnessed four recent domestic homicide deaths, Mayor Mike Padilla on Tuesday encouraged anyone who sees couples and families struggling with domestic problems to let them know help is available.
Padilla made the statement on behalf of the mayor’s domestic violence task force, which he oversees.
“We are asking the community – when they have that chance, when they see someone struggling – to give them that opportunity, because there are a number of organizations that are working together to try and address these issues,” he said.
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Some recent mass shootings have been domestic, the mayor says
Padilla spoke during the press conference he and city manager Stephen Wade hold monthly at City Hall.
He said the national news has recently been filled with reports of mass shootings, some of them at home, which is why he chose to speak on the mayor’s task force.
The mayor in 2018 assumed oversight of that group, which includes representatives from the state of Kansas, Washburn University, the criminal justice system and non-profit groups.
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Topeka Police say domestic homicide was responsible for the deaths of a woman and two children in a fire Friday morning at 916 SW Warren Ave. Killers were Genny L. Fitzpatrick, 30, Peyton L. Tyler, 9, and Kourtney K. Tyler, 1 , all of Topeka. Kyle J. Tyler, 32, of Holton, was held Tuesday in the Shawnee County Jail in connection with crimes that included three counts of first-degree murder. Formal charges had not been filed.
Sixteen-year-old Jackson Tilton died on Jan. 8, four days after being hospitalized. Dustin J. Kelley Sr., 40, who was the boyfriend of Jackson’s mother, Sarah Snipes, was being held in prison Tuesday on first-degree murder charges linked to Jackson’s death.
Potential sources of help for those experiencing domestic issues include the Northeast Kansas YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment hotline at 888-822-2983 and the Kansas Crisis Hotline at 1-888-363-2287.
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City manager highlights diversity and inclusion efforts
In response to a question about last week’s filing of a gender discrimination lawsuit against the city, Wade and Padilla said the city takes claims of this nature very seriously.
Padilla and Wade said that because the litigation in question remains pending, they cannot speak specifically about the lawsuit filed by Topeka Police Lieutenant Jennifer Cross and the captains. Jana Harden and Colleen Stuart are asking for $1.5 million as they claim they were passed over for promotions because they are women.
The defendants in the lawsuit are Topeka City Government and Police Chief Bryan Wheeles.
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The city tries “very hard” to diversify its workforce and ensure it provides a welcoming and safe environment for all of its employees, Wade said.
He pointed out that the city last month hired its first diversity, equity and inclusion officer, Ernestor De La Rosa.
Padilla, who spent 33 years as a Topeka police officer before retiring, said the number of female officers at the Topeka Police Department has grown “amazing” since she started working there in 1970. with female agents being an integral part of the city’s success.
Data released on the Kansas Bureau of Investigation website says 13.7 percent of Topeka Police Department sworn officers in 2021 were women, compared to 12.3 percent of all agencies that provided data statewide. .
Contact Tim Hrenchir at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.