Crime & Courts

Half of Wichita’s new police review board failed to meet training requirements

Police shoot to eliminate threat, not to kill, Wichita trainer says

Lt. Chris Halloran, the Rangemaster in the Wichita police Training Bureau, told the Citizen Review Board that police shoot to eliminate the threat, not to kill, and Hollywood movies "make it look glamorous to shoot bad guys."
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Lt. Chris Halloran, the Rangemaster in the Wichita police Training Bureau, told the Citizen Review Board that police shoot to eliminate the threat, not to kill, and Hollywood movies "make it look glamorous to shoot bad guys."

More than half of the people on Wichita’s new police review board have failed to meet a city requirement, but they may not be removed if the City Council changes the rules.

The city formed the Citizen’s Review Board in part to increase transparency with the Wichita Police Department and improve community relations. People on the board are required to go through the department’s Citizens Police Academy within a year of appointment.

But fewer than half of the 13 appointees to the board have done so as the January deadline approaches. The City Council on Tuesday will hear a proposal to change that requirement, and other modifications to the ordinance creating the police review board.

The Citizen’s Review Board is a group of people intended to “advise and assist the City of Wichita and its police department in policy development, education, community outreach and communications related to police community relations,” according to city ordinance.

All appointees to the board must be enrolled in the department’s Citizens Police Academy within 90 days of appointment and complete the academy within a year, among other requirements. Appointments were made in January.

But only five of the 13 people appointed as members or alternates on the board appear to have completed the requirement to go through the academy. Only one of the five likely met the 90-day enrollment deadline.

City ordinance states that “a member shall be removed from the board” for failing to complete the academy within the time specified.

None of the board members or alternates have been kicked off.

The police department is recommending that the ordinance be revised to maintain continuity with the current board, said city spokeswoman Jennifer Tribue.

Wichita police hold the Citizens Police Academy twice a year in conjunction with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office. The academy is intended to show members of the community how the two law enforcement agencies operate. Classes meet for three hours a night once a week for 13 weeks. The next academy starts in February.

The academy requirement has been an issue ever since the board’s first meeting.

At that March meeting, members asked for those rules to be loosened, meeting minutes show, in part due to the time commitment.

The proposed change would keep the academy requirement, but gives board members an additional year to complete it.

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