City of Wichita officials and community partners on Thursday released findings and recommendations from a Wichita Police Department organizational assessment, which was designed to identify critical department issues, improve police-community relations, and assist in hiring a new police chief.
City Manager Robert Layton launched the organizational assessment in late August following the retirement of Police Chief Norman Williams and amid community concerns about officer-involved shootings. Layton said the assessment will provide a “blueprint” to help the new chief move the department forward. He plans to start working with an executive search committee within a week. The six-month organizational assessment is captured in a 227-page report and an 11-page executive summary found at the following www.wichita.gov links:
The goals of the assessment were to 1) provide research for best practices, 2) engage internal and external stakeholders on strengths, concerns and a future direction for the department, 3) review policies, procedures and other aspects of the department, and 4) provide recommendations for hiring the next police chief. The assessment, which included input from 195 employees and 22 stakeholder meetings, focused on:
- Improving community relations;
- Strengthening community policing;
- Continuing plans to obtain body cameras for field officers;
- Addressing racial profiling;
- Implementing cultural diversity and sensitivity training;
- Educating the community on the legalities of pretext, or patrol, stops;
- Developing targeted recruitment and retention efforts to improve departmental diversity;
- Establishing a new community advisory board; and
- Improving access to information and transparency, among other recommendations.
Residents are encouraged to read the organizational assessment report at www.wichita.gov, where they can also find a link to offer feedback on the report. Layton said dates for a series of related community meetings will soon be announced. The meetings will be held at locations of partnering organizations: Wichita NAACP, Sunflower Community Action, Wichita Independent Neighborhoods and Wichita Crime Commission.
Watch the video of the News Conference available online. View the powerpoint presentation presented at the news conference.