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By Ann Marie Bush
The Capital-Journal

TOPEKA — A Topeka Police Department handgun regulation states off-duty officers can't carry a firearm when their judgment is impaired for any reason.
The Topeka Capital-Journal obtained General Order No. O09 Tuesday after filing an open records act request with the city clerk's office. Although the copy obtained by The Capital-Journal was issued March 6 and took effect March 21, Kyle Smith, the police department's legal adviser, said the previous order, which took effect June 29, 2007, contained the same language under the handgun regulation portion.
The newspaper reviewed the firearms policy in view of a shooting incident involving four off-duty Topeka police officers March 18 that left two brothers wounded. The officers remain on paid administrative leave.
One of the officers involved, Laura Bonebrake, is quoted in a Shawnee County detective's report as saying, "Yeah, we're all a little kinda inebriated."
The report recounted that the officers had been drinking that night at a St. Patrick's Day party at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge, at a bar and at the home of one of the officers.
Another of the officers, Jason Judd, 30, was charged in July with two counts of felony intentional battery tied to the shootings of Daniel Llamas, 27, and Devin Llamas, 18. Additional charges of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor criminal trespass were filed against him in September.
A charging affidavit of probable cause filed by sheriff's Detective James Mummey states the four officers — Bonebrake, Judd, Chris Bowers and Travis Jepson — had been consuming "alcoholic beverages" before the incident.
Judd, Jepson and Bowers were armed during the confrontation outside the home of Daniel Llamas, 7418 S.W. 25th. However, Kansas Bureau of Investigation lab reports indicate the bullets removed from the Llamas brothers didn't come from the firearms carried by Bowers and Jepson, whose weapons were fully loaded when collected.
The handgun regulation also states that off-duty officers carrying firearms are required to carry Topeka Police Department badges and a photo identification card. The charging affidavit of probable cause states "during this altercation, the four off-duty Topeka police officers did not identify themselves as police officers until 911 was called and the responding officers began to arrive."
Police Chief Ron Miller said the department's administration investigation won't be concluded until after the court has made a ruling in Judd's case.
"I understand the frustration of the public, but in this case, we can't rush to judgment," he said. "We have to follow the processes of the criminal justice system and Kansas employment law."
However, Miller did state he "expects all officers to use good judgment as part of their responsibility as a Topeka police officer and as a certified Kansas law enforcement officer."


Story From: The Capital-Journal
 
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