WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Police Chief Gordon Ramsay is stepping down. He says he is leaving the Wichita Police Department on March 1 for personal reasons.
“I am leaving WPD for the betterment of my family as they are the most important thing in my life and we are at a time when it is most important I am there for them,” he wrote in his resignation letter to City Manager Robert Layton. “Serving as a police chief is a demanding lifestyle and all too often family has come second.”
His letter also mentions that his father, who turns 90 in a few weeks, is battling cancer.
“It is sad not to see my parents more during this phase of their lives.”
City Manager Layton said Ramsay has made a significant contribution to the community and positioned the WPD for the future.
“He opened discussions and dialogues with folks who had felt underrepresented before, and whoever comes in behind Chief Ramsay will have to build on that legacy,” Layton said in a release from the City.
He said the search for a new police chief will be a very public process.
Ramsay has been with the WPD for almost six years. He arrived toward the end of January in 2016. Before that, he served as the chief of police in Duluth, Minnesota, for nearly ten years.
Almost immediately, Ramsay got national attention when video of a Wichita police officer became a viral hit. The officer was dancing with a group of Black Lives Matter activists at a community cookout. The video got Ramsay an invitation to the White House to discuss community relations, but he could not attend because of a family commitment.
But his tenure in Wichita has also been marked by controversy, most notably, the police killing of Andrew Finch during a swatting incident on Dec. 28, 2017. A hoaxer had reported a fake homicide and hostage situation at Finch’s home. Finch answered the door, unarmed and unaware of the hoax and, while he was talking to officers, a police officer shot him. The lawsuits that followed have made it the largest and most costly swatting case in the nation.
Earlier this year, Ramsay was one of seven finalists being considered for police chief of Austin, Texas. At the time, he spoke about how happy he had been serving in Wichita.
“We have accomplished a lot together over the last five and a half years, and the decision to apply for this position was difficult, as I love Wichita, the WPD staff, and this community.”
By August, Ramsay was no longer in the running.
“This process confirmed to me WPD is way ahead of others in many, many ways – due to the efforts of many of you,” he wrote. “While of course, it is disappointing, I have way too much to be grateful for to give the news much energy.”
KSN is interviewing Ramsay today about his decision to leave and what is next for him. We will update this story as more details become available.