WPD training officers discuss use-of-force policies, educating community
Throughout the county, the use-of-force policies officers use has been gaining more attention in recent weeks, especially following the death of George Floyd in late May.
The Wichita Police Department has been reviewing its use-of-force policy for almost a year. This review is leading to changes, coming soon. WPD training officers on Monday discussed those changes and the importance of transparency, educating the community.
“In reality, 99 percent of our arrests have no use of force," WPD Officer Chris Nixon said. “I tell them they are under arrest, they put their hands behind their back and I put cuffs on them. It is done, and I take them to jail. That one percent is where we get into issues.”
Officer Nixon says the few arrested that does require the use of force must be done within department policy. He says while each situation varies, officers are trained on how to handle them.
That training, while extensive, is necessary. Before leaving the academy, new officers complete more than 300 hours of use-of-force training. Per WPD policy these tactics are retrained every year.
Training officers on Tuesday showed some of the techniques used with the use of force and explained why each technique is necessary.
“It doesn’t just go physical, we have communication in every stage of the game,” WPD Sgt. Kenneth Kimble said.
Sgt. Kimble said Wichita officers follow a use-of-force continuum, a checklist to determine the necessary force for a given situation.
Verbal commands are used first as the department has put an emphasis on de-escalation.
The WPD does not use chokeholds or any move that could restrict breathing.
WPD Captain Lem Moore encourages community members to know police procedures, saying that knowledge helps hold everyone accountable.
“Because of past incidents or mistakes that we have made or positive compliments that we’ve had, we’ve been able to change our policies and enhance on those,” Capt. Moore said.