WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Sedwick County Comunity Task Force has now given its recommendations to the City of Wichita and county leaders.
The first recommendation is for better video in the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC), with audio, and more staffing for those dealing with mental health calls are some of the recommendations.
City and county leaders will review for 90-days and then work on budgeting.
“Start looking at what the costs are, what the policy analysis is and how soon we can get some of that implemented,” Wichita City Council Member Brandon Johnson said. “It just comes out of the budget. You know something like this is important enough that it should be funded.”
No time has been given in the recommendations as to when changes would be implemented. Some say it needs to be a priority.
“But the biggest issue we are really going to have is our workforce. I mean, we are struggling to provide the services that we have today,” Sedgwick County Commissioner Sarah Lopez said after the final task force meeting. “So expanding upon those is going to be really hard. So stabilizing workforce, I feel like has to be our number one priority.”
Another recommendation is to see changes in the foster system and how the Department for Children & Families (DCF) handles cases. One more thought in the report is to have police body cameras recording the entire time while interacting with mental health and juvenile cases.
Some task force members say Cedric Lofton should not have died after being in police custody.
“Tension got high sometimes, but we worked through it,” C. Richard Kirkendoll, task force member, said. “I think we came up with some good recommendations that’s going to help further lessen the chance of this incident ever happening again.”
No exact time has been given when changes should happen or how many staff needs to be added and where.
County and city leaders say that after 90 days, they will hopefully implement changes and spend money to address questions about how juveniles are handled while in police custody.
“I think we’re going down the right path,” Johnson said. “Right now, it’s actually up to us to do and to have people hold us accountable.”