The top eight items all involved police reforms.
A lot of things upset people when it comes to the justice system. There’s the prosecutors, the judges, the jails and prisons, the sentencing grid, difficulty making bond and of course the police. However after weeks of protest and calls for justice, members of the Wichita Racial Profiling Advisory Board, invited members of the community to help them prioritize the change they hoped to see.
More than 100 diverse individuals heeded the call, and gathered last week to develop a pathway to equal justice in Wichita. Whether they were influenced by and almost endless stream of videos featuring bad policing or by their personal experiences with less than stellar copies, improving policing in one way or another, appeared at the top of almost everyone’s list.
Starting with a list of 23 suggestions for change submitted by the NAACP, the ACLU, and Law Enforcement Action Partnership, and a half dozen other ideas suggested by people in the audience, the individuals in participation discussed the justice reform in small groups before then each person ranked the top 10 items they felt would most contribute to positive change.
Members of the Racial Profiling Advisory Board will present the group’s findings to the Wichita City Council and they also plan to schedule follow-up meetings with City and County officials and key community representatives to further review the group’s suggestions and negotiate for implementation of some of the recommended changes.
We’ll keep you posted on the results of these meetings.
To find out more about the Racial Profiling Board on their website at https://racialprofilingwichitaks.com/racial-justice. The board meets the third Thursday, 6:30 – 8 p.m., at McAdams Park Recreation Center, 1329 E 16th Street N., Wichita.
Prioritized Racial Justice Reforms for Wichita
1.Each offices has a duty to intervene if another officer is using excessive force or escalating a confrontation and may be fired if they don’t.
2.Filing a false police report or planting evidence are grounds for an officer’s termination and criminal prosecution.
3.Renegotiat the Fraternal Order of Police Unions contract so bad cops can be fired.
4.Prohit any use of chokeholds or knees on the neck whether in handcuffs or not.
5.Make officer’s misconduct and disciplinary history available via a Kansas Open Records Act request and available to other law enforcement agencies.
6. Make it a fire able offense if any officer does not immediately provide emergency medical aid to an injured suspect or bystander.
7.Prohibit No-knock warrants for any search or arrest.
8.Require officers to deescalate and request COMCARE therapists when on mental health or domestic calls.
9.Establish an independent citizen’s Review Board with subpoena power to investigate police use of lethal and excessive force. The current citizens review board does not have much power to effect change or even hear cases. This change will give this group more power to affect change.
10.Allow more Own Recognizance (OR) bonds to get out of jail for non-violent offenses. Poor people are lingering in jail just because they can’t afford to make bail, while richer people go bail out, turning our public jails into a pauper’s jail – place for housing the poor.
11. Do year round training for police on de-escalation, continuum of force and biased based policing. De-escalation, calm the situation down; continuum of force, clearing defining and teaching the amount of force to use that is appropriate to the situation; and biased-based policing, helping officer understand and recognize their biases as a way to help them address.
12. Mandate immediate drug testing when an officer is involved in any deployment of his/her taser or firearm. Police are not beyond using drugs. This change clarifies whether the officer was in any way impaired.
13.Mediate instead of litigate to rebuild trust and heal. This is a change for the City of Wichita who always defends police in court against misconduct. This makes filing charges very expensive for, especially when the city drags on cases for years. Instead, this item suggests the city should mediate a settlement in of taking the case to court.
14.Stop re=arresting people for minor parole or probation violations. This repetative cycle of incarceration makes it difficult for an individual to move forward with their life.
15. Stop issues traffic tickets for non-moving violations. Those include minor chargers like having a headlight or brake light out, and the dreaded no light over the license plate.
16. WPD chief and sheriff to publish quarterly public reports of traffic citations issued, complaints filed and officer disciplinary actions taken by race and age. Data gives the community quantifiable measures to judge the department’s performance by.
17. Provide defendants a receipt for seized property plus provide them instructions on how to get their property back when they’re found not guilty. This is a step against Kansas’ Asset Forfeiture Laws, which allow the police to take your property if they believe it was acquired in association with a crime. In addition, they can keep your property even if you’re found not guilty.
18.Sheriff must provide a quarterly report of the people in the jail by race, gender, age, type of offense and arresting agency.
19.Have new recruits participate in community clean up challenges to get a feel for and bond with the community.
20.The WPD Chief and sheriff must budget for an provide mental health treatment for any officer who has PTSD symptoms or is under significant stress.
21 Transfer the million of dollars paid each year to store body camera images to fund more mental health and homeless program in Wichita. Story years and hours of police video is expensive to maintain. Getting rid of more of the old data, could save the City a lot of money that could be used for other program.
22 Include a separate category for Hispanic people on police reports instead of being reported as White. Identify Hispanics as White skews the numbers and makes it look as though minorities, are not as disproportionately impacted by the courts.
23 Eliminate the motorcycle traffic enforcement unity.