Interim Wichita Police Chief considering run for permanent position

The Wichita Police Department’s interim police chief, Lem Moore, on Thursday, told Eyewitness News that if he’s offered the job full-time, he’ll take it.
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita Police Department’s interim police chief, Lem Moore, on Thursday, told Eyewitness News that if he’s offered the job full-time, he’ll take it.

Moore said after 31 years of service, he thought about retiring. Now, that he’s been at the department’s helm for a little over a month, he said he thinks he could make a change in the community.

“I know that we’ve done a great job of building bridges up to now, but having someone that understands diversity, equity and inclusion at the table. I know that everyone understands it, but I live it. Just like other minorities that are in high put positions,” said Moore. “And so I think bringing that to the table and having someone homegrown, would be beneficial for our community.”

Since Moore has taken over, it was revealed that 11 Wichita police officers were involved in a text message group in which racist, homophobic and sexist messages were exchanged. A department investigation took place in April of 2021. It was even turned over to the FBI. The public found out about the investigation when it was turned over to the Wichita Citizen’s Review Board.

Moore said in addressing the issue, he believes it’s all about balance and education.

“We have the DOJ that are on the schedule now to come down and talk about racial and criminal activity within law enforcement and educate and make officers aware of how this stuff creeps up into individuals’ lives,” said Moore. “No matter how good of a heart you have getting into law enforcement when you work around criminals, you work around people who do bad things, sometimes those bad things or those bad apples creep into some of our personnel’s lives and those same actions come out in them. We don’t want that.”

Moore said the goal is to remind officers that they are important to our community and that the work that they do can affect people in a positive way.

“Like everyone knows, I’ve been interim chief since March 1st. Seems like I’ve been put in the pit of the fire and I have my little fire extinguisher trying to put out these big blazing flames that are out there. For me, I feel like I’ve been doing a pretty good job, I’ve been pretty successful. There are a lot of things that are going on that are on my radar that are being taken care of. The men and women within our organization are doing a fantastic job of continuing to keep their motivation which is... giving me motivation and that excitement,” said Moore.

The interim chief said he waivered about entering his name into the search for the next police chief because wants the best candidate for the job, even if it may not be him.

“When I came through as a deputy chief, I totally surprised the board because I understood and saw that we needed a female deputy chief in that spot and I’m competing against that deputy chief. And I knew that she was going to bring a lot more to the table when it comes to dealing with lactating rooms, females coming back from maternity leave, and working in the environment and having the better understanding. I actually told the board that I would love this position, but the better candidate for this position would be the deputy chief that was applying at the time.”

Moore calls himself “Wichita proud.” He’s lived in the city for 35 years having graduated from Wichita East High School and says he loves what’s been accomplished in the city. He also recognizes there will be bridges that need to be rebuilt in the community.

“Other agencies contact us, contact the Wichita Police Department to learn from what we’re doing. They send their people to get trained from the Wichita Police department. And so, with a little fine-tuning we’re going to be able to build that trust and we’re going to continue to provide the best safety services for our community,” Moore said.

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