Police officers are modern-day knights. They keep us safe and maintain order. When bad things happen to us, we turn to them for help. They put their lives on the line to watch over us. And for all of this, we rightfully hold them in high regard.
But who watches the watchers? Who polices the police?
We owe it to them – and they owe it to themselves – to demand world-class accountability in our police departments. We must honor their work by ensuring unaccountable officers or bad conduct is exposed and dealt with immediately. We must all be pro-police and believe in holding police accountable. These are not mutually exclusive concepts.
While most officers in the Wichita Police Department are great officers who are a credit to the community, it is clear there are problems within the WPD due to a failure in leadership.
The first step to fixing any problem is admitting there is a problem. The leadership of the City of Wichita continues to deny there is a problem with these shootings in our police department. Statistics show otherwise. The responsibility for the death of Andrew Finch and many others lays at the feet of our City Council and City Manager, who have failed to address a problem they knew existed.
The City Council and City Manager must address the underlying issues facing the WPD before any meaningful change can happen.
Provide adequate city funding for the Wichita Police Department
Provide and prioritize deescalation-based training
Require cultural awareness training for every first responder
Provide more training for handling mental illness and disability-related cases
Get more officers on our streets
Ensure citizen review continues
Work toward renegotiating contracts that prevent citizens and victim families from knowing the identities of WPD employees tied to officer-involved shootings
Our officers are our knights, and they deserve world-class accountability. But with a crisis of leadership, it's going to take a movement to create change. If you agree, we need your voice. Please add your name to this petition and forward it to your friends and family. Together, we can find justice for victims of officer-involved shootings, and accountability for a world-class city.