Community policing in the national spotlight at presidential debate

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – While protests rage across the country, the necessity of community policing was one of the few things Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could agree upon.

Here in Wichita, we’re seeing a different kind of conversation between police and community activists, in a shift that’s been attributed mostly to Wichita’s chief Gordon Ramsay.

“My goals is to be, have legitimacy in this community with our efforts in what we are doing,” said Ramsay last Friday, “and that’s one reason I wanted to come here today.”

Activist A.J. Bohannon has been involved in many of the ongoing conversations with the chief and community members.

“It’s really been some mixed emotions. you know a lot of people in the community were kind of reluctant at first to take that step and you know receive the olive branch that the chief was handing out to the community,” said Bohannon. “Once they saw things, you know, start rolling in a positive direction a lot of them were more open to some of the things that we were doing and more open to having some of those discussions and coming to some of the places of events that we were holding.”

Pastor Herman Hicks, of Greater Pentecostal COGIC, is a member of the God Squad, the group of local faith leaders working to improve community relations. He agrees that he’s seen progress, but says patience is necessary to see true change. “It takes time to change a culture, and really, this is a culture. It’s a culture in the police department as well as in our community. It takes time to make those changes, so we’re not there yet not even close, but we’re getting there.”