When she was first becoming a police officer, Mindy Leslie had applied to work at the Topeka Police Department.



The department was one of her top choices since Leslie’s parents are Topeka, Kan., natives and her extended family still lives in Kansas’ capital city.

When she was first becoming a police officer, Mindy Leslie had applied to work at the Topeka Police Department.

The department was one of her top choices since Leslie’s parents are Topeka, Kan., natives and her extended family still lives in Kansas’ capital city.

Leslie, an officer with the Blue Springs Police Department for more than eight years, attended Saturday’s funeral for Topeka Police Cpl. David Gogian and Officer Jeff Atherly.

On the evening of Dec. 16, as a nation grieved over the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Gogian and Atherly were gunned down outside a grocery store in Topeka while investigating possible drug activity.

The suspected shooter, David Edward Tiscareno of Topeka, was killed in a standoff with law enforcement officers a day later after they tracked him to a home about a mile away from the store.

“I just felt I needed to go to pay respects to the city of Topeka and the Police Department,” Leslie said. “It was real somber, and you could tell that everyone had a heavy heart. It was just real sad overall, and you could tell that everyone was trying to make sense of what had happened.

“You can’t make sense of irrational acts, I guess, but it was just real disheartening. It’s strange and so surreal – it just doesn’t seem real, the whole thing.”

The Blue Springs Police Department had four law enforcement personnel attend the funeral, and the Independence Police Department also sent several officers to the services at the Kansas Expocentre. Topeka is about an hour and 15 minutes west of Independence, on Interstate 70, and its population is comparable to that of Independence.

Leslie said she took away a sense of camaraderie after the funeral, adding that hundreds of police cars could be seen at the funeral. An estimated 2,500 people attended, and Topeka residents also paid their respects in coming out of their homes and waving American flags, Leslie said.

“It’s such a brotherhood and such a sisterhood,” she said. “As a community, it seems everyone came together.”

As a police officer, Leslie said, “you know in the back of your mind that something could always happen, but to see it at a funeral, it becomes very real to you that something strong could happen so fast.”

“It was my first one, and I wish I could say it will be my last one, but I know it won’t be,” she said of the funeral for the fallen officers. “It was great to see the Topeka community supporting the police officers.”