Police chief plans to pursue carrot-and-stick strategy to take aim at violence

May 4, 2019. The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Chicago police warned gang member Daniel Alcantara in the summer of 2015 that he was at high risk of killing someone or being killed, and offered him help leaving the gang life, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But Alcantara declined, and was fatally shot during a gang war in June 2016, that newspaper reported the following month.

The warning given to Alcantara was part of Chicago’s use of a “group violence reduction strategy” of the type pioneered by the National Network For Safe Communities, a carrot-and-stick approach that Topeka police Chief Bill Cochran intends to pursue in this community.

Topeka JUMP gathering draws more than 1,200 people

April 29, 2019. Topeka Capital-Journal

Religious fervor filled the Rev. Christine Potter’s voice Monday evening as she addressed more than 1,200 people from 23 Topeka-area congregations who packed into Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

“Oh people of God — this beautiful, diverse body of God — we are called together to work our justice muscles in unity,” said Potter, associate pastor of Countryside United Methodist Church. “We are called to jump with our voices, with our hands, with our feet and our legs, our entire bodies. Topeka JUMP — jump for justice!”

SOTO Ride-to-Work program so successful more dollars needed; JEDO steps up

September 13, 2018. The Topeka Capital-Journal.

A pilot transportation project helping workers get to jobs in south Topeka has been so successful that it is running out of funds, and the Joint Economic Development Organization agreed Wednesday to add $7,800 to finish out the year.

The SOTO Ride-to-Work program launched in late December to offer $5 rides from anywhere within the Topeka city limits to employees working at a number of south Topeka businesses, including Bimbo Bakeries, Home Depot, Target and Mars.

Topeka city officials discuss establishing process to fund affordable housing projects

June 5, 2018. The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Nine years ago, the question before Topeka’s governing body was whether to fix the city’s streets, and the community responded by implementing a half-cent sales tax to accomplish that purpose, Topekan Carol Babcock told the city’s governing body Tuesday evening.

“Today, the question is ‘Do we need to fix affordable housing?’ ” Babcock said. “I say ‘yes.’ ”

Babcock — a member of Topeka JUMP, a faith-based organization asking the city government to do more to deal with affordable housing problems — told city officials she felt pleased they were considering establishing a process through which a housing trust fund the city maintains could be used to target dollars toward affordable housing.