TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell is pushing for change. He went to Topeka Thursday to voice his concerns to state lawmakers after a Wichita teen died while in custody.

Commissioner Howell was one of several leaders to take the podium at the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee meeting. He shared three main points, including banning the use of wrap restraint devices. This device was used by the Wichita Police Department (WPD) on Cedric Lofton before his death.

“We didn’t start using the device until prior to the summer of 2020. WPD used that device at least 83 times in 15 months; 10 of those times were on children ages 13 to 17. So, the idea, I guess my opinion is it’s overused,” Howell said.

Seventeen-year-old Cedric Lofton is one of those 10. Wichita police officers placed him in the wrap device before taking him to the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC). He died two days later in a hospital.

“It adds to the anxiety and makes the crisis worse. It may be good for police officers. It’s bad for the person being in crisis,” he explained.

Howell asked Kansas lawmakers to make changes to HB 2200. Including banning the use of wrap devices, and the extended use of the prone position. He also wants to make sure mental health assessments are done for those in crisis.

“You can’t put those things on the back burner and prioritize other things first,” Howell said.

Howell is passionate about seeing these changes happen statewide.

“I think we have 105 counties in our state. This is a bigger issue than Sedgwick County, and so by doing this through Kansas law, it makes sure we have statewide uniform policy across the entire state. I don’t know what other counties are gonna do,” Howell said.

The Committee Chairman Representative Owens told Howell they intend to have a hearing specifically to address the Cedric Lofton case.