City officials give update on new chief hire, body camera implementation

Wichita Police Department (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – The city has already found a funding source, researched camera options, consulted with the IT department, and drafted policies for use of cameras. Right now, work is be completed with contract vendors. A meeting is being scheduled with IT and body-worn camera vendors to design how product would integrate with existing infrastructure.

“The project team is working diligently to meet milestones and overcome challenges presented with such a large effort in ground breaking technology and policies,” said Deputy Chief Hassan Ramzah.

The Wichita Police Department is looking to replace Norman Williams, who retired as the department’s chief back in September. Deputy Police Chief Nelson Mosley has been acting as the “interim chief”, but now, the department says it’s time for a long-term leader.

It’s been 8 months since we learned the city would be looking for a new police chief. After taking a careful look at just what the city needs in its next “top cop”, the city is moving forward. They’re calling on a consultant and they want the community to be involved as well.

“The next police chief will have a strong commitment and a good understanding, a comprehensive understanding,” said Wichita City Manager Robert Layton.

A good understanding of what it means to bring a better relationship between the police and the community.

“The previous chief was committed to community policing and was actively involved in the initiation of that,” Layton said. “Again but now it’s a recognition of times have changed and how do we stay relevant to our residents, how do we recognize.”

An assessment done by WSU is serving as a blueprint to help find the new chief that is right for the community.

“That will then serve as or provide the guidelines for the new chief – talking about the things, the issues that are important to us as we move forward and that the chief will know, that when he or she starts on the job, these are some of the community priorities,” Layton said.

Mayor Jeff Longwell says it’s a new direction for the department.

“Implementing cultural diversity and sensitivity training, educating the community on legality of pretext or patrol stops, developing targeting recruitment efforts in retention efforts to improve departmental diversity,” said Longwell.

The city is looking to a citizen panel, consisting of 8 average residents, to serve on an advisory panel to help look through those applications and make recommendations. Layton says feedback from the community has shaped the profile in the ideal candidate, but they’re not done with the community’s input just yet.

“There is an opportunity for community voice in the selection of a new chief,” said Layton. “So we’ll have at least one community forum and people will have the opportunity to see their candidates before I make a final decision.”

The deadline for the police chief’s position will be June 19th. City leaders hope to have someone hired by the end of August or the start of September this year.

The city says it’s hard to say what will happen to the standing interim Wichita Police Chief because he might be interested in the position. Layton says he doesn’t want to speculate on what’s going to happen.

 

Wichita city officials on Thursday provided a progress report on recommendations stemming from a six-month organizational assessment conducted by Wichita State University following the retirement of Chief Norman Williams.

The full report can be accessed by the following links:

City Manager Robert Layton spoke first about hiring a new police chief. Layton says a consultant has been hired, and a candidate profile has been developed and the position has been advertised. Additionally, Layton has selected a citizen’s advisory panel to provide input through the selection process.

“The panel will help ensure the selection of the best candidate,” Layton said. “A person who will help local law enforcement evolve, improve and respond to the growing needs of our community.”

Officials also updated the progress on body cameras.

Comments are closed.