Members of a new citizens review board were announced by Wichita city manager Bob Layton on Wednesday, and there is much to be encouraged about.
The seven members are diverse in their backgrounds and represent many corners of the city. Layton looked at more than 100 applications and came up with a strong mix of Wichitans.
Even more encouraging is the addition of former U.S. attorney Barry Grissom, who will advise the board and be able to offer perspective on the police-conduct cases and community policing issues that will come before the board.
Meetings will be open to the public — another plus — and any policy changes suggested by the board will be made in a public setting.
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This board will be more pro-active than the city manager’s board that is disbanding in favor of this version, Layton said. But that doesn’t mean it will conduct investigations independent of police with subpoena power — a much most costly and complicated version.
Of course, success for a review board such as this will come down to how it’s able to improve transparency within the police department. Obstacles cited by police to make information public still remain. Let’s hope the board takes an aggressive approach in helping the department realize it can be more open and efficient.
As Layton said Wednesday in announcing the board members: “This doesn’t work if we’re not as transparent as possible.”