Wichita councilman wants more transparency in police department

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) Who is the officer that shot Andrew Finch following a prank swatting call in December?

That’s been the question from many in the community.

District 1 councilman Brandon Johnson spent years as a community activist before being elected to the council.

He says there needs to be more information released to the public after officer involved shootings.

“We have to do something. We are angry,” says one speaker during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Kathy Camden adds, “We are here yet again another week, trying to get answers, trying to get the name released, trying to get accountability and transparency, and we are still not seeing any progress.

Yet another heated city council meeting.

People demanding the name of the officer who shot and killed Andrew Finch be released.

Johnson is listening.

“I think prior to now we have consistently not given a lot of information and that leads to public distrust. Not only in government but our police department,” says Johnson.

The shooting remains under investigation.

Wichita Police citing Policy 706 in reference to information that will not be released to the media which includes ..”names of department members involved in critical incidents unless approved by the chief of police.”

Johnson feels more information should be released.

“I can see it just in the sense of that is what the community wants and who were here serve. I think more importantly a conversation should be had with the city and with the community about how we do that. Why we do it. And really get more input from the community,” explains Johnson.

We asked the police department why the name has not been released?

They cited policy 706 which in part states “information pertaining to professional standards investigations will not be released including the names of complainants, witnesses, accused officers or the specifics of any disciplinary actions.”

“Ramsay said is a statement, “I am committed to making changes to improve best practices, community policing and protect the integrity of this department. I have demonstrated that since I joined the department in 2016 and in recent months with naming officers charged with certain crimes and placing them on unpaid leave.”

Johnson says the people wanting that information released have valid concerns.

He says, “You just want to be heard. You want to be taken seriously and you want an opportunity for change.”
The police chief released a statement about releasing the names of officers involved in shootings saying, “A change in this practice impacts the working conditions is subject to mandatory bargaining per the City labor contract with the Fraternal Order of Police. There are exceptions to this, such as if an officer is charged with a crime, the name will be public..”

We reached out to the fraternal order of police but they did not return out calls for comment.

Chief Ramsay also said today his family has received death threats after the shooting.

He says some people have gone so far as to say they will shoot his children.