WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita City Manager Robert Layton hopes to name either Mario Knapp or Joe Sullivan the next police chief of the Wichita Police Department (WPD) by the end of the month.
Both candidates faced a way array of questions during the public forum at Botanica Tuesday night.
“I don’t know a lot of the inside stuff, but it’s just important to trust them,” said Wichita resident Sue Bransford. “Community policing was huge. I loved that, really involved in that.”
Others asked the candidates about their thoughts on getting officers on the streets more training for crisis intervention.
Some came out to ask about trust.
“Clearly, it’s important for us to be able to trust the police department and the leadership,” said Wichita resident Rob Simon. “We’ll have to see if they want to support what we want in this community with equity and restorative justice.”
Both candidates talked about the need to work on policy for accountability. Communication with diverse groups in Wichita was stressed in the public interaction.
They both talked a lot about building trust with the community.
“I want to build relationships in every community so that every community and every resident here understands the anatomy of a police investigation and how that works,” said Knapp. “Because once there is an issue, and once there is a polarizing event, it’s really hard to pick up the pieces because then it just looks disingenuous.”
“So I enjoy that interaction with diverse communities. And opening up dialogue. Increasing trust,” said Sullivan. “While at the same time being able to maintain the trust of my officers.”
Both candidates on Wednesday will meet with WPD officers, leadership and other city leaders.
City manager Layton said the time frame to make a hire could go past the end of October but hopes to have a WPD Chief named by the end of the month.