The Wichita Police Department should be investigated by the media and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, not to mention the American Civil Liberties Union on charges of rampant corruption. Despite countless claims made by citizens over the years, the department has rarely found any cases of wrongdoing by officers. Police shootings have become a routine occurrence and the public is force-fed the police version of these stories, without ever being exposed to contradictory statements made by witnesses and victims of the department’s alleged crimes against humanity.
All across the nation, police departments are being openly investigated in far reaching corruption probes, ranging from cover-ups involving police violence, to outright thievery and drug dealing by officers. Yet, authorities and media outlets in Wichita remain largely silent towards numerous claims of corruption involving the WPD. Citizen journalists are just beginning to interview witnesses and victims, to make their stories heard. But such actions will not suffice without help from the mainstream media and federal authorities, who are now investigating the Sheriff’s Department for cases of inmate abuse in the county jail.
This same government magnifying glass needs to be turned on the Wichita Police Department, sooner, rather than later. We need investigators who are not tied to the City of Wichita or the department. We need supervisors overseeing these investigations, who also share no ties with the city or the department. We need a court system that is equally impartial, to preside over any resulting criminal charges.
Police officers are not any different from any other segment of our society. Some officers are honest, decent servants of the public. Others are not. All across the nation, investigations are being launched, and officers are being arrested and tried for their crimes. The citizens of Wichita deserve a department that prides itself on transparency and accountability. As it stands, the Wichita Police Department is rapidly losing the trust of a growing segment of the population, which is dangerous both to officers and to those who rely on these officers for safety.
Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams has repeatedly defended the actions of the department’s officers, while withholding crucial information from the public and media. Williams has made controversial statements regarding the department’s need to shoot more people and, when questioned, would rather speak to the emotional hardship of the officer than express any condolences to the victims. Williams should resign and be replaced by someone who will investigate the department and expose the corruption that so many have witnessed, firsthand.