Wichita police say they are working to be more transparent

WICHITA, Kansas – It has been a recurring criticism of Wichita Police Department. It is how the department handles officer-involved shootings.

Back in 2012, protestors at city hall said there was a lack of information provided calling the shootings brutal and unnecessary.

The department has been open about its effort to make changes in how it shares information with the public after a change in the administration.

It’s an effort to work towards a better relationship with the people they serve.

“We’re not ever trying to hide anything. I know people say we do. We’re trying to be transparent and give as much information as we can without obviously damaging information. Provide as much information as we can so people know what’s going on,” said Lt. James Espinoza. “We are doing things a little differently, we’re putting more information out there because we think that’s what the public wants, and that’s what they deserve especially like what you saw yesterday.”

Sunday’s fatal shooting involving police led to a media briefing hours later.

A practice of openness that wasn’t seen at the last fatal shooting in July.

Deputy Chief John Speer says the move was in response to discussions internally and with the public about how they handle incidents like this.

“We want the community to know that we have listened, and it doesn’t do any good to have all of these meetings if we’re not going to do things as a result,” said Speer.

Speer says you can expect to see the change. Something he’s calling an evolutionary shift for the department.

“Just because we’ve always been doing it this way in law enforcement for 10, 20, 30 years doesn’t mean that it’s the way we should keep doing it.”

Speer also says that different officials in the police department are going across the country to learn new ways to ensure they have a better relationship with the public. He says there will be more discussion about how to keep public informed.

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