Thanks to a video, and a unique, progressive concept, Wichita made national/international news last week for a job well done. While too many Black Lives Matter confrontations across the country have led to negative interactions between citizens and the police, Wichita’s peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest lead to a picnic in the park where police officers and community citizens interacted, relaxed and got to know each other.
Volunteers served hamburgers and hotdogs, while some officers played basketball with neighborhood youth, and some officers joined in the dancing. It was the video of Officer Amos Moses, posted online that drew a lot of attention to the event. Even USA Today picked up the story.
Besides positive news about the community, here are few things that Chief Ramsay shared with the community.
The event was billed as “First Steps” Picnic and Ramsay indicated he wants to have more interactions to improve community and police relations.
He talked about the desire to hire people with a little more experiences in life. Hiring the right people, he said, is important to improving the department.
He’s informed officers they don’t always have to enforce to the “letter” of the law versus the “spirit” of the law, if it can “help prevent someone from being jammed up in the system.” His goal is to keep people out of the court system for minor violations.
He’s agreed to support a bill that would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate police involved shootings. This would take the investigations out of the hand of the District Attorney’s Office with whom officers have a close working relationship. This change would have to be approved by the state legislature, but Ramsay has agreed to support it, even with the association of Chief’s of Police.