FUND PUBLIC SAFETY
"We trust Brandon Whipple to protect Wichita families.”
— Wichita Fraternal Order of Police
IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY
I will focus on examining our resources and moving to properly fund our police. Further, we must coordinate mental health services more effectively, so the WPD is not expected to address crisis mental health situations alone.
FUND PUBLIC SAFETY IN WICHITA
Investing in advance training for our Police Department and Fire Department staff at adequate levels will always be a top priority. For years, our City leadership, including the Chief of Police, has told us that our Police Department is underfunded and understaffed.
A recent study showed that Wichita has 680 police officers, but actually needs 950. When we staff our public safety at only two-thirds of requisite levels, our community is at risk.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL PARTNERSHIP FOR A REGIONAL CRISIS STABILIZATION MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY
For too long, when our City has been asked by taxpayers and voters to address an ongoing and growing mental health crisis in Wichita and Sedgwick County, our Mayor and others on the Wichita City Council have said that this crisis is the responsibility of the County Commission.
While Kansas law does authorize the County to provide mental health treatment for the most needy in our county and city, the City of Wichita will continue to bear the brunt of the fallout from our collective failure to act.
A real, long-term solution to addressing systemic and recedivic mental health illness in our region is going to require intergovernmental cooperation at all levels. Before we can address long-term solutions, our region must address the thousand of mental health episodes across Wichita as a public health crisis and not as a law enforcement crisis.
CIVILIAN POLICE SOCIAL WORKERS
Civilian Police Social Workers are trained to defuse mental health related emergencies, coordinate treatment for those suffering from mental health illnesses, and coordinating placement for victims of domestic violence. Including Police Social Workers in our Police Department will, also, free uniformed police officers to do the job we hire them to perform: fighting crime.
According to the Association of Police Social Workers, 80 percent (%) of the work that uniformed officers perform nationally is service oriented and only 20 percent of that time is spent fighting crime, but 80% of the training that officers receive is focused upon fighting crime and only 20% of officer training is oriented towards service.
Civilian Police Social Workers embedded in the Wichita Police Department will lead to better outcomes for those having a mental health crisis or impacted by growing trends of domestic violence.
We see the effects of this neglect in the newspaper and in statistics. It is critical that Wichita families are safe no matter which part of the City you reside. And many across the City know how deeply our area’s lack of access to proper mental health care affects our families.