This isn’t the first time there’s been a focus on cleaning up the culture of law enforcement agencies in Sedgwick County. Dr. Mike Birzer, professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, said he recently found a copy of a 1980s report done on police and community relations by the Department of Justice and the Commission on Civil Rights. From his review of the report, Birzer said, “some of the same things that were going on in the 80s, they still exist today in this community.”
That’s not surprising to the Black officers who say they’ve seen a pattern of having conversations and a few issues are discussed. In response, police administrators have figured figure out, “let’s promote “A” and “B: and all the pastors and the Black community they’ll shut up and go away,” said one of the older officers who sat down with The Community Voice.” “But really, they just scratched the surface and they didn’t fix anything.”
“Promotions, are not really changing the culture, they’re changing the face of the department,” the same officer continued.
If ministers and the community want to really help the officers and make positive change in the department and in community/police relations, they say why not talk to the Black officers.
“Out of all of the problems that happened in this community reform or support, the ministers, the NAACP, nobody has ever come forward to talk to any officers to see how bad things are over here.
“That has never happened, they don’t talk to nobody about nothing. We don’t get any support from our own community.”
The officers went further and picked on the God Squad, established by Chief Gordon Ramsay, the chaplains, a program implemented by Chief Williams.
“You (chaplains) get a little badge, you get an ID card, and once a month you get an unmarked car to drive around for 48 hours, burn up some gas and act important.”
Like most efforts, administrators have figured out how to appease the community while doing little to address the real issues.
“The chaplain program was basically designed to keep them from talking,” the officer said.
The officers said they hope this time, the community and its leaders won’t so easily fall for the okey dokie