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Working in partnership with our community to deliver exceptional police services with professionalism and fairness.

WPD Response to the Community

Recent events across the country have brought to the forefront the need to rigorously review local police policies and protocols to assure we are providing equitable community public safety and law enforcement for all Wichitans. These concerns have resulted in lists being submitted to the Wichita Mayor, City Council and Police Department from community organizations with specific demands and grievances about Wichita Police Department (WPD) procedures and policies.

The Mayor, City Council, and WPD denounce racism in all its forms and seek to emphasize and implement fair, transparent, and unbiased policing that reflects our core principles and values.

Policy and Procedures

Recently, WPD has received many questions from media, community members, and stakeholders on WPD's training, practices, policies, and procedures. In response to these valid questions, WPD developed a comprehensive response to the community. To read the responses in its entirety, please download the 2020 WPD Response to the Community document.

Where We've Been and Where We're Going

In the last five years, we have actively sought to build upon ongoing dialogue around WPD policy and procedures. As a result of that dialogue, we have already implemented many significant policing reforms, including:

  • Fully implemented body cameras for all patrol officers and sergeants;

  • Renewed focus on diversity in the recruitment of police officers to the department;

  • Implemented duty to intervene training for all commissioned officers;

  • Significant changes made to how we interact with youth in gangs to better communicate and prevent gang involvement;

  • Regular meetings with the public to address concerns residents have with police-related issues;

  • Response changes to suicide threats with a weapon and suicide-by-cop incidents;

  • External investigation by another police agency for possible police criminal misconduct;

  • Refocus school resource officers (SRO) on coaching and mentoring and diverting youth from the criminal justice system;

  • Partnering with schools on restorative justice training for SROs;

  • Tripled the number of crisis negotiators since 2016 and trained 90 staff members on crisis negotiation to de-escalate and reduce need for use of force;

  • Significantly reduced the number of incarcerated youth;

  • Focused on using discretion for low-level traffic offenses and introduced warning tickets;

  • Added a focused deterrence program focusing on individuals most likely to be involved in violent crime and provided them resources through community partnerships;

  • Partnered with "See Something, Say Something" grassroots effort to help reduce community gun violence. A tip line is monitored by area clergy to intervene or collect tips on violent crime;

  • Partnered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters to have officers participating in "Bigs in Blue" where officers meet and mentor youth;

  • Changed policy to cite and release for possession of marijuana versus jailing;

  • Partnered with Wichita schools for police officer reading-to-kids programs;

  • Created a "God Squad" consisting of African American leaders of faith to share information and build partnerships in the community;

  • Co-founded the Youth Advocacy Coalition to create partnerships with community organizations that help Wichita's youth in an effort to help children curb violence, break the cycle of generational poverty, and improve their quality of life.

WPD is committed to transparency and providing accurate information to the Wichita community and others visiting our webpage. If you are not finding an answer to your specific question on this page or have ideas and comments you would like to share, then please reach out to WPD on social media or at one of the following resources: | Office of the Chief of Police, 316-268-4158 | WPD Public Information Office, 316-268-4217

WPD AND #8CantWait


Ban Chokeholds & Strangleholds

We agree.

The use of force authorization and limitations section of use of force policy 906 states: “Officers are prohibited from impeding normal breathing or blood circulation by applying pressure to the throat or neck unless lethal force is justified.” and WPD regulation 4.114 states: “Members utilizing a baton should direct defensive bowls towards strategic areas of the body, avoiding the head and neck area. Utilization of a choke-hold using a police baton is prohibited as a containment or take down procedure. Such action shall be taken only as a defensive measure and only as a last resort to prevent death or great bodily harm to the member or another person. Members will utilize methods consistent with departmental training.”

The policy and regulation specifically prohibits WPD officers from impeding normal breathing or blood circulation by applying pressure to the throat or neck unless lethal force is justified, or utilizing a baton or similar object as a choke hold for a containment or take down procedure.


Require De-Escalation

We agree.

The de-escalation section of use of force policy 906 states:

“De-escalation techniques and tactics include, but are not limited to:

  • Remaining calm and professional.
  • Decreasing the exposure to the potential threat by using distance or physical barriers between an uncooperative subject and an officer.
  • Engage in tactical communications including active listening. Communication with the subject should be limited to one officer at a time in order to ensure clear communication.
  • Requesting and utilizing additional officers whenever necessary. If one officer is unable to build rapport with a subject, another officer may be given an opportunity to communicate with the subject whenever possible.
  • Tactical positioning, repositioning and pause when necessary.
  • Leveraging time by slowing down the situation:

When safe and feasible under the totality of circumstances, officers should attempt to slow down or stabilize the situation so more time, options and resources are available for incident resolution. When time and circumstances permit, officers should assess whether a person’s lack of compliance is a deliberate attempt to resist or an inability to comply based on factors including but not limited to:

  • Medical conditions;
  • Mental impairments; Developmental disability; Physical limitation;
  • Language barrier;
  • Drug interaction and/or intoxication;
  • Behavior crisis; and
  • Emotional response/fear.

An officer’s awareness of these possibilities shall be balanced against the facts of the incident when deciding which de-escalation and use of force options are the most appropriate to bring the situation to a safe resolution.”

In 2016, WPD began focusing on de-escalation techniques to resolve situations without the use of force by utilizing time, distance and communication. WPD has had significant success in using these techniques and diminishing, wherever possible, having to use force when dealing with those in crisis.

New officers, as well as veteran officers, are trained in de-escalation tactics. The training includes the use of active listening skills, commonly used by crisis negotiators, to de-escalate high-risk situations. WPD has ongoing training for the use of these communication techniques for all officers throughout the year.

Multiple steps have been taken over the past several years to emphasize de-escalation techniques:

  • Since 2016, WPD has tripled the number of crisis negotiators with specialized training in communication and are able to assist with crises and highly volatile situations;
  • Mental health training for officers is a priority. All WPD officers have received mental health training up to and including the comprehensive Crisis Intervention Team training;
  • WPD has implemented de-escalation language into use-of-force policy 906.

Require Warning Before Shooting

WPD believes requiring warning shots could endanger others in the vicinity of an incident, therefore WPD policy does not allow this.

WPD regulation 4.104 D, A states: “When practical, a verbal warning for the individual to submit to the officer shall be given before the use of force (including deadly use of force) in any situation unless doing so would increase the danger to the officer or others.”

This practice is continually trained for and reinforced for both new and veteran officers through mandatory biannual training.

WPD has also completed educational programs each year as the New Year approaches to discourage celebratory gunfire. The program 10 teaches “what goes up must come down,” or what leaves the firearm barrel will land somewhere. These bullets may cause property damage, injuries and even death.


Requires Exhaust All Alternatives Before Shooting

We agree.

The discharging firearm/use of lethal force of regulation 4.104 states: “Discharging of firearm/use of lethal force is allowed Pursuant to K.S. A. 21-5227.

When practical, a verbal warning for the suspect to submit to the member shall be given prior to the use of lethal force in any situation unless doing so would increase the danger to the member or others.”

The verbal commands section of policy 908 states: “A verbal warning and time to allow the subject to comply must be given, prior to the use of an impact weapon, unless such warning would present a danger to the member or others, and that verbal commands before, during, and after the use of an impact we4aon are important in order to de-escalate any situation and gain compliance and control of an actively resisting subject.”

The verbal commands section of policy 909 states: “A verbal warning, and time to allow the subject to comply; must be given prior to the use of OC spray, unless a warning would present a danger to the officer or others, verbal commands before, during, and after the application of the OC spray are important in order to deescalate any situation and gain compliance and control of an actively resisting or aggressive subject, and after resistance has ceased, the subject must be reassured that nothing further will happen, and decontamination for the spray application is forthcoming.”

WPD policy and Kansas statute K.S. A. 21-5227 states: “An officer is justified in using deadly force only when such officer reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to such officer or another person.”

This principle is emphasized continuously throughout training and is reinforced in each WPD’s use-of-force policies.

WPD uses the objectively reasonable standard regarding issues involving the application of force. Additionally, officers are trained extensively on de-escalation tactics and on recognizing the effectiveness of utilizing time, distance, communication, and having the highest regard for the sanctity of human life. WPD is continually trained to avoid lethal measures wherever possible and to exhaust all nonlethal measures and de-escalation techniques before resorting to use of weapons.


Duty to Intervene

We agree.

The duty to intervene section of use of force policy 906 states: “Any officer observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances, when in a position to do so must intercede to prevent the use of unreasonable force. An officer who observes another employee use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law should promptly report these observations to a supervisor.”

WPD has revised its use-of-force policy to include a specific direction on duty to intervene. Duty to intervene has also been incorporated into WPD training for both new and veteran officers for several years.


Ban Shooting at Moving Vehicles

We agree.

The section of policy 906 that prohibits shooting at moving vehicles states: “Firearms shall not be discharged at a moving vehicle unless deadly force is necessary and the following exigent circumstances exist:

  • A person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle.
  • The vehicle is intentionally and deliberately being used as a 12 deadly weapon, and all other reasonable means of defense have been exhausted, or are not present or pratical.
  • To prevent the threat of being struck by a vehicle, officers should make every effort to avoid putting themselves in the path of any moving vehicle and when such positioning is unavoidable, to move out of the vehicle’s path as soon as practical.”.

Require Use of Force Continuum

We agree.

We agree. The purpose section of policy 906 states: “The Wichita Police Department values and respects the sanctity of every life and identifies our role as a lifesaving organization. When officers are engaged in police activities there is an immense responsibility that comes with the authority to use reasonable force, including deadly force, in overcoming resistance and protecting the public. As such, we have policies, procedures, and training which encourage tactics and strategies to gain voluntary compliance. It is the Wichita Police Department’s expectation officers will make tactically sound and reasonable use of force decisions which demonstrate our value of every life.”

The “8cantwait” initiative defines the force continuum as restricting “the most severe types of force to the most extreme situations” and “creating clear policy restrictions on the use of each police weapon and tactic.”

We agree and WPD’s training is consistent with this. Deadly force is clearly restricted to extreme situations, and the use of specific tools/ techniques is specifically restricted in our use of force policy.

Additionally, WPD has specific language in policy 913 outlining when medical attention has to be sought.

The referral/transport for medical attention section of policy 913 states:

  • “A member should monitor a suspect on which any use of force, with or without a weapon, was used to detect any obvious signs of medical problems or extreme reaction and summon medical assistance if, in the discretion of the member, there are doubts to the health of the person.
  • In addition, if the suspect exhibits any of the conditions and/ or symptoms mentioned below, officers shall either summon medical assistance or transport the subject to a medical facility. The subject is unconscious even for a short period of time. Visible Seizure; Obvious significant injury from a fall or take-down; Subject states or appears that to have chest pain or trouble breathing; Subject displays persistent confusion or altered mental state; Subject requests emergency medical assistance; Type 2 or higher force is used against a subject who is pregnant; and Use of a CEW on juvenile (17 years of age or younger).
  • A suspect shall be examined by a physician or qualified health care provider prior to interrogation when suffering from, or complaining of, injury or illness or when the individual: Is struck on the head with an impact weapon or other hard object; Is restrained about the neck or throat which resulted in the subject going unconscious; and 14 Is subject to a CEW application, in which a significant secondary injury to the head occurred.
  • Medical care and physician release information shall be documented in the report of the officer having custody at the time of treatment. Suspect’s refusal of medical treatment shall be documented and verified by the officers in their report.”

Require Comprehensive Reporting

We agree. The responsibility for reporting section of policy 913 states:

  • “Officers shall, as soon as possible, notify their shift supervisor of any Type 1 Reportable use of force.
  • Officers shall immediately notify their shift supervisor following any Type 2 or 3 Reportable use of force.
  • Officers shall complete an Electronic Use of Force Form. Officers shall also complete the appropriate Incident Report and/or supplemental report to document any use of force including any escalation of resistance by the individual and control options utilized in responding to the resistance. The Use of Force Form will not substitute or duplicate the incident or supplemental report, or vice versa. The Use of Force Form should contain information pertinent to the officer’s use of force.”

For definitions of Type 1, 2, and 3 uses of force, please refer to WPD policy 913, WPDPolicyAndProcedureManual/Policy%20913%20-%20 Reporting%20and%20Investigating%20Force.pdf

Overall, WPD policy 913 requires comprehensive reporting and mandates officers after using any type of force to contact a supervisor, complete an incident report and complete an electronic use of force form.

These incidents include pointing/drawing a firearm at an individual, and in some instances, for those who have been handcuffed and released.

Additionally, the electronic use of force form goes into an internal database. The use-of-force report is reviewed an average of three to six times by supervisors, depending on the level of force used to ensure accuracy in reporting. Certain types of force require an initial on-scene supervisory response.