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Crime and Courts

UPDATE: Wichita Mayor Says City Close To Choosing New Police Chief

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City of Wichita
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Mayor Jeff Longwell says both candidates for police chief are still in the running, but that the city is close to making a decision. The position has been vacant since September of last year.

The two candidates spoke at a public forum on Monday night. Gordon Ramsay, who is currently the police chief of Duluth, Minn., said it’s critically important to reduce the use of lethal force in modern policing.

Jeffrey Spivey, who is assistant police chief in Irving, Texas, talked about changing a popular mindset. He wants his officers to be seen as guardians in their communities, not aggressors.

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell said during his weekly mayoral address that the city is still considering the two candidates, but that they’re close to making a job offer.

“There’s a couple of steps that we have to get finished before we finalize any kind of offer or contract. Both are great candidates and we think we’ll end up with a good police chief," Longwell said.

Interim Police Chief Nelson Mosley has headed Wichita’s police department since Norman Williams retired after more than 14 years at the helm.

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Original story aired Dec. 15, 2015, during Morning Edition: Public Hears From Wichita Police Chief Candidates At Community Forum

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Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
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KMUW
Djuan Wash, with Sunflower Action Committee, asks a question to police chief finalist Gordon Ramsay during a public forum Monday night.

The two finalists in the latest search for the next chief of the Wichita Police Department answered questions at a public forum Monday night. The candidates were questioned about goals for the next five years, the militarization of police, and their thoughts on the need for a citizen's review board.

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Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
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KMUW
Gordon Ramsay, police chief in Duluth, Minn., greets neighborhood president James Roseboro Monday after speaking at a community forum at Century II.

Both candidates shared their thoughts on police brutality and use of lethal force. Gordon Ramsay, current police chief in Duluth, Minn., said it’s clear the public wants less use of lethal force within law enforcement.

  

“It’s a critical point in American policing right now that as a leader in law enforcement, I am going to work to do what we can so that deadly force does not have to be used," he said.

Jeffrey Spivey, assistant police chief in Irving, Texas, said he believes society is looking for police officers to change their mentality from that of a "warrior" to more of a "guardian."

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Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
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KMUW
Jeffrey Spivey, assistant police chief in Irving, Texas, speaks to an attendee at Monday's forum.

“A guardian looks at protecting the citizenry, and only when challenged or only when the citizenry is in danger does force then become an option," Spivey said.

City Manager Bob Layton hopes to hire a new police chief by the end of the year.

The city had to re-open its search for a new police department head after a previous finalist turned down the job offer. The position has been vacant since September 2014.

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Follow Abigail Wilson on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.