‘It’s a step in the right direction’: Wichitans share ideas for change to prevent racial profiling

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Carla Jackson-Patton has lived in Wichita her whole life. She says the last few weeks of protests and rallies for social justice are familiar.

“I am 71 years old, and it is déjà vu. I’m reliving past incidents.”

Jackson-Patton was one of the Wichitans voicing her concerns to Wichita’s Racial Profiling Advisory Board.

“We need to take action and start developing strategies, and hopefully, this is just the beginning,” she said.

Rally cries for police reform and social justice have been heard across the country for weeks. The advisory board decided to host a town hall Thursday night, June 18, to back that action with a list of specific recommendations for police and elected officials.

“This is the voice that needs to go forth so that we are not just angry flooding the streets, but we can take some action towards policy changes,” said Juanita Ridge, advisory board member.

Citizens were given a list to rank policy changes they want to see most and discussed other ideas they had.

“Bringing everybody together, putting all these ideas together. It’s a step in the right direction,” said Chanel McCray.

Some items on the list included de-escalation techniques, changes to the Wichita police traffic enforcement unit, and giving subpoena power for independent review boards.

“There was an overwhelming amount of good ideas and that is a tough thing as they try to see what the best approach is,” said Rudy Love Jr.

The advisory board hopes the list can bring local changes that will help the community heal.

“We need to be able to be transparent. We need to provide the trust with our local police force. So that citizens feel like they are a part of their community and not exited from their community because of the way they are treated,” said Ridge.

The advisory board plans to present the group’s shared ideas to city and county officials within the next week or two.

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