City of Wichita responds to demands for police policy changes

Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 5:57 PM CDT
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The City of Wichita released a document on Thursday responding to a list of demands from community organizations seeking a change in policy when it comes to policing.

The 16-page document addressed each demand aimed to reduce police violence by banning things like chokeholds and establishing a duty-to-intervene policy.

The first demand -- defunding the police. Chief Gordon Ramsay said that means different things to different people.

Related: City of Wichita Response to the Community's Full List of Demands "For us, what it means is a lot of what we've been saying for a number of years. That is the social ills, gaps in services that exist in communities," said the Ramsay. He said the department has made progress in how it responds to those calls citing the implementation of ICT-1 for mental health calls with ICT One, the homeless outreach team (HOT) and working to bring social workers into the police department. Ramsay said WPD is also working to improve in other areas and has already made changes to meet other demands like implementing de-escalation policies. According to the city's response, the Wichita Police Department has trained officers on these techniques since 2016 and recently added language to ban any force that impacts breathing or blood circulation. Another demand met, testing all rape kits. Ramsay said this was done in 2018 and a policy was added to prevent any future backlog. He did say there were some demands but WPD did not fully agree with. "A couple of those are: no-knock warrants. There are some cases such as violent crimes where a no-knock warrant may be necessary. The civilian review board with subpoena power. We believe our review board is correctly chartered to provide oversight of the police department," said Ramsay. The chief did highlight the department's full implementation of body cameras, strong partnerships with community groups (See Something Say Something), the implementation of the Hispanic and Latino Chief's advisory board and efforts to reduce incarceration of youth as strides it has made within the community. Chief Ramsay and Councilman Brandon Johnson took calls from the public on the issue Thursday afternoon during a Q and A session on Facebook Live.