WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After nearly a decade, the Wichita Police Department is changing policies and expectations when interacting with the community. The nine-page draft of WPD’s use of force policy has not been updated in seven years.
In August of last year, the department started drafting a new version and in recent weeks has made even more changes to encourage best practices.
“Over the last three weeks, we as an agency have worked hard to really try to implement a lot of good things in the policy,” said Sgt. Kris Henderson, Wichita Police Department.
Sgt. Henderson presented the latest updates to WPD’s Use of Force policy at the Wichita Citizens Review Board meeting Thursday evening. Some of the key additions include the duty to intervene.
“We see something that’s wrong that we as an organization and our officers that are out there that they intervene and be able to stand up and take accountability and say, ‘Hey, this is wrong,'” said Henderson.
They’ve also added additional bullet points for rendering medical aid. It says “If the subject complains of an injury or if the officers suspect injury the officer will request EMS at the scene.”
“That’s been there but I really wanted to break it out so that we have a clear understanding of what officers are expected to do once they are on scene or somebody becomes injured,” said Henderson.
Police say they’ve never authorized chokeholds but felt it was necessary to incorporate language that’s on par with the times. The draft documents have been updated to prohibit officers from applying pressure to the throat, neck or chest with the use of their knee or other object while someone is handcuffed. Clarifying the language with all of these proposed changes is to reduce any confusion on what’s allowed and what’s not.
“We want to make sure we’re inclusive of everything and that we have a good policy in place that will last for many years and be successful for us,” said Sgt. Henderson.
For viewing WPD’s use of force policy, click here.