ISSUES 2017 12/24/17

Steve McIntosh
Wednesday, December 20th

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay discusses violent crime trends, opioids, human trafficking, staffing problems


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is is usually 1760. Macintosh and I guess is Wichita police chief Gordon Ramsay. Welcome to issues when he seventy nudged into this figure morning when we don't want these shows so far. We did you he unfortunately she nil for almost a year correct two lead to in January 2 years ago surrounding OK so what do you think of the shop right now. Well which it does been very good to me in my family and were enjoying it here. Have you found any big surprises. In this indices that you you're ruler of really you know I mean there's a lot of challenges obviously. But no no everything is pretty much what I expected. How many officers in the police aren't we are at 650. We have seventeen vacancies because a retirements and raise an action resignations. 650. Is that it was like 400. No you didn't bit even putting people know I want some more on Roy got a city's growing that's right and demands on are cops are. More and more every day the expectations of our police do you need to deity actually need more off Houston. Yes no doubt about it and primarily because one the expectations of police. Are changing. Mental health issues are falling on the shoulder of the shoulders of our police. Is more and more funding gets cut federally and at the state level gets pushed around us and our people are cops are the social workers. Of today you know I was sort of us that was somebody of the day where the the U. Mentally challenged. Familial that are in the responsibility of what teachers and cops right right and especially. You know. After dark we are the only number you can dial three digits do actually even during the day and get a government response your door. The expectations of what what's happening right now there are officers is is pushing a list. But. What is your annual budget and about 83 million. Nine 1% of salary and benefits bull while some there's not a lot of extra room it's it's simple for guys like me make it there tonight but they're gonna to deal with a lot of good. You recently talked about an upward trend in violent crime in Wichita. Which which numbers troubling you the most well I think gun violence is the number that since 2014 we've seen. Increases in our aggravated assaults associated risks. Gun violence and what we're seeing is a lot of people are choosing to resolve conflicts with with guns then. It's a concerning trend and it's something that we want to turn around. One of the questions that I had prepared for you. And I had to do it to new Kansas laws about concealed in carry and so forth and I'm. I don't know that has an impact on this at all did what music is an impact well you know I think we need research on it. For one right we do know that we're seeing increase and shootings we're seeing an increase of you know what we call pointing naming incidents on the roadways of road rage you know where a lot of people may be used to. Give someone a certain sign with with a hand gesture now we're seeing people or point Oregon and pointing at. So. It might be society's changing I don't know the answers all I know is that we're seeing an increase it would be great to have some research done. So we can work on solutions. If have you taken any steps. To bring down the system not necessarily is just shooting a result the numbers well you know technology. The area that I'm really focusing on is increasing our technology there's. Technology available to us we've recently partnered with a KBI and ATF. To do more work on our shell casings to match those up at that with crime scenes and connect them with other crimes so. There is technology that we were using that we are now utilizing to help us. I catch the people that are responsible for for shooting these guns. You know we look at crime numbers over the years on from looked at and the FBI resources so forth and aid and violent crime Evan says ups and down incidents it. How much of that that was numbers. Are simply be under the police department's ability to influence. Well you know I highly he's thought I absolutely will still you know perception people's perception of crime. And reality are often two different things. And right now we're dealt with the perception issue where. And a lot of it's played out because of the attention he gets on the news right let's be honest on the first three stories or crime absolute it causes concern about. The reality is with all the talk about homicides we hear. We're three more than we had last year and and any one homicide is too many. But you know the majority of our homicides that we've seen this year argument related they're people that know each other. Followed by. The second. Period that we see your domestic violence where you know it is a boyfriend or. You know so that kind of dynamic relationships is don't just a random thing or somebody comes up to you in the public hearing your whole bunch huge no usually very rare act very rare usually they know each other or this and that connection is often at the other end domestic counsel's arguments usually are fueled by drugs alcohol. Or combinations. You know I recently talked with this entry county district attorney mark Bennett. We told people feel woods or becoming a problem in the Wichita area but myth is still king. Do you agree with and I do yeah I've met this still cheap. And accessible and in the world of addiction that's really what it boils down to is what is Coston. Availability. Italy's Giorgio very very powerful. Oh you bet the fentanyl. That's happening you know that's who had been called an elephant tranquilizer right that's what it was gonna use for. There's been officers throughout the country who have. It touched it or inhaled it. And had serious health issues associated with him. I'm hurting and died is that true the full fentanyl is responsible for a lot of overdoses throughout the country right now just attaching it yet yet touching inhaling yeah skin contact. How dangerous is that victory. It it's a problem and it and keep in mind opiate abuse starts with. Prescription bills the opiate prescription. You know I had a neighbor of mine he was an ER physician. And he restrain in the seventies and he said you know Gordon when I was trained and he said we only prescribed opiates for those and hospice because it is so addictive. You go over twenty days of using these drugs and the likelihood of you've becoming addicted increases. Substantially. And it is a tough drug to get off of ask anybody who's been hooked. So people need to recognize that and also when they have opiates that they haven't used in their home throw away. You know we had a case re investigated young man had a new Cadillac Escalade thanks it was Graham does stored up opiate bills that he sold. On the street. Well that's exactly what did DA Bennett said you know I show you mentioned Cameron get rid of the old stuff pay attention yeah. Now in the case of someone close to me who had surgery recently and this person's been taking some I guess are over you residents here. But there are some pretty strong she's it's a pretty strong resistance or to energy goes into prescribe it. Resistance but the real real careful answer right there are some laws and play yes laws and awareness right and you know I had a doctor pulled me aside one time he said. You know don't blame medicine for this because. The society's. Desire to be pain free has driven us and I thought that was an interesting point as well. Don't want most of us don't when it experienced pain right meant. All right we're talking with you a little bit about it. Cameras. Okay and at the of these stationary cameras that you've. The city has erected around as to what we got 72 government operation around that. And so many of them in old town obviously you don't replace a little tunnel where. Actually it's a terrific place for all excited about it is is. As a huge impact on the city and our our economy and so forth and yet there's some violence going on them there every now and then. And day indeed how was is helping is is don't these cameras helping with the. Yes and keep in mind violence is rare the problem is is when there's any violence there gets attention like. Nothing else right because it's just for those reasons you said that is hub of the city in an area we wanna see do well. But we also got a pretty good vibrant bar district and have bar closing time gets to be one of the issues where we see. Sometimes issues occurring so every night every Friday asserted that we have extra officers down there as wells are modern monitoring those cameras to keep people safe. And you and if there was a time when you are picking up on traffic violations and using cameras for them occasionally do you know what I'm glad you brought that up because. Here's the deal the officers that took the initiative to do that I support him right they did nothing. Illegal nothing unethical and Italy's and I encourage guys to use technology and think outside the box to do. New things but the reality is is that even though they did nothing wrong my philosophy in the flustered and trying to instill the department. Is we wanna educate and communicate with the public. And in that case it was done it was it was a effort. For three days for three hours apiece were these the officers took the initiative to focus on traffic and you gotta keep my traffic's a number one source of complaints in the city. But what what should have been done in our review was one. It would have been good to have a discussion with me and other command staff about so that we knew what they were doing we could talk through it. I had cameras in my old city and when the issue of traffic enforcement came up utilizing those where I said no because it is extremely controversial but they are good tool but. Had these officers talked again I would say you know what let's talk about education. Let's talk about notifying the public. And really the purpose of those was not for traffic enforcement. Now after watching a scene in are watching this thing's going on they see egregious traffic violations you know I get that but really. That should have been more of an education piece of vs pull out the hammer you know in the old adage goes you look at it. You eat yet today you have hammering your hand and all of a sudden. Everything starts look like a male you know and the goal of traffic. Enforcement are lies is voluntary compliance. Not to hammer. You know if you racked up a few those of their on Kellogg. Human via voluntary. I still think we can have a great reality TV show called the Kellogg daily drive. It is something else I don't make it definitely gives it during the afternoon you know boring drive very often but when I do well yes it's amazing yeah. I've written two tickets on Kellogg this year. Myself just because of the craziness but also I also pulled the guys over who had debris fall anonymous truck and I almost. My life flash before my eyes and a guy came within inches of me it is a dangerous road where we yeah and there's no doubt that we've got to focus more on. Most police officers into writing teams that pain in the rear and yeah I'd rather be you know. I just don't like straight to. I. Likes to be the bad guy. Right but the reality is is that that that's the best opposition in the police report is that there's this expectation that we are an even on the camera issue you know we had some people say this is good you know. We've got traffic issues we've got to focus on and then we had the other isn't. You know the thing about policing is you can't win. Not like the firefighters you can always went at it you should. I think guys and to remember that only useful if the casket to its that he wanted to protect enough that it worst record well and as I tell my wife. Don't immediately say what I do wrong when the cop comes up you know I mean be friendly. Yeah she doesn't understand why issuers as tickets. To it. You'll get tickets we with breaking news story that you listed as utilities haven't seen in the Air America Radio stations urges. Which to police chief Gordon Ramsay. So how those. Firearms laws working today make the police feel any safer better. Well. You know the for me you know learning the constitutional Kerry lie it was a surprise the first vehicle that I pulled over there is a gun sitting on the seat. Not being able to inquire about it right because you gotta have some happiness can even ask him yet because there legally anybody can carry. And so it makes our job a little more difficult so when you talk about the the gun laws and you know those are things that would maybe help us well. Yeah that's that's. A different from the past also you know the other night we had a guy calls and that. He had been shot end. After hours of investigation it was determined that he would accidentally shot himself but he was a felon and couldn't be in possession. And so we see you listing all we have a lot of jokes actually probably about one a two week while where we have people accidentally shoot themselves and and embarrassed to say anything so they say someone shot him and after we. Do more work. Who definitely are prohibited person or they're just to a bear that's why in me inexperienced media people not jump to any conclusions on us shooting. I think he's inexperienced yet write something episode they don't. Ever let it affect you gotta do is both of trouble plus human trafficking. What are you investigators seen in human trafficking. Well what we realize is that it's a bigger issue then. And before and that. As we learn more about it. We recognize that it's been underneath our nose and we haven't seen it this. Brave soul it's a problem about 65 this is this is a staggering number. But 65% of our runaway kids. Somehow end up involved in sex sex trafficking. And whether it's you know. Did for a for a place to stay for the night or actually being traffic. Are runaways need our attention. Now. Bodies senior and on we talked about prostitution. And stings along Broadway you've been running is there a specific area where this is concentrated looks like you've pretty much about a three or four mile strip that are. Yeah a lot of cross blood around the hotel's right in so this is a high crime area it's not just prostitution that prostitution also. Fuels and as part of other all overall crime issues here of our crime and disorder and theft and drug abuse and drug sales. And is part of this the issues were trying to address that we do when you actually when you arrest someone and she just suspicion of prostitution. Are their plans hauled in as well. Well so. If you dishing it is a police officers. Yes stinging right right so the excellent are you just don't busted a couple on the streeters like. Well this can happen yeah right our student cops see it and can work those. But yet the reality is and then we're we're working on. The mail and have it because of the issue with blood of these women are traffic are abused. You know we have arrested females in these stings but we do offer them assistance to trying get out of there. Out of the cycle. Yeah see a large number of domestic violence cases on the daily police crime she's talking about that problem from a third. Third highest call on the city and is a problem as a father with a young daughter. It's concerning to me. And we are doing everything we can including. We're doing a criminal justice audit right now or we're looking at how better. They're criminal justice system that includes everything from the start of the 911 call to the end of probation for the suspect. Can we be better is a system to ensure that these homicides that are you know number two on our list for costs. How can we reduce those as police and as a communion criminal justice system it is a problem. Tell us about. WPP's efforts to communicate with folks in various neighborhoods. It's been something you've been concentrating on. Well community policing community policing its for one is that everybody when you talk about crime trends and you see. Crime going up it's a lot of people look at polices the face of the issue and the reality is is that police can't solve crime Malone. Most of our crime assault with tips from people people calling stuff in. And the community has to be a partner with us to be successful. But also the community needs to know the cops and feel comfortable calling them so relationships has been a focus for us. To build those relations soaps but relationships of people are comfortable talking to us calling us. And working with us and those you want for years if you do it right correct individuals to do I still have I still get invited to a graduation isn't different ceremonies from friends that I met. Through the job done. Well is it working Purdue only think I think we're making progress and there's a lot of work to be done but I think we're making progress over the body cameras working every as every police officer Alan every patrol officer yup sergeants don't I'd like to find some money. It's a fabulous program except it's very expensive. About 380000 dollars a year which yet isn't budgeted nice have to come up for that money every year to pay for that. But it is fantastic since I've got here we have allowed people commend whenever complain if there's not an active criminal investigation to watch the video. We have resolved a 119 complaints by allowing people to come in Washington video and not many times they quickly run out the dorm barest. Because that was different than they were called. There was and others speaking with people in due to criminal justice system there are other hidden thing it and think about processing evidence that comes from that. It can be really time consuming for effort for those investigators and yeah lawyers. We've fallen 30000. Video as a month. In all those have to be tracked in if we want to find and so on a year you know we're talking hundreds of thousands of videos. And when we have to find that one video we better be able find it or judge or prosecutor or victim or suspect is not going to be happy right so it's. It's an intricate system that needs to function right. It is your philosophy on transparency. Transparency well. Core. I'd like to see some changes made before right because a lot of and corps is against open records act which yes which Jack Kennedy. Is the guidelines for releasing data. Around the state body camera footage. You got to remember we capture people at the darkest moments of their life often in their own homes. Who should have access to that well in my opinion the people that are the subject to the video of those that are in it should always have access the soldiers and an active investigation. But it shouldn't be an ex boyfriend or neighbor that can come and get a video on its defense the way that we stress house yesterday on rating watch what happened. But the people should have access to it now let's take. High profile police incidents use of force incidents I do believe that those should be released the question isn't what point. Right because the prosecutors will say oh boy don't want adjudicate witnesses there jury pools. So the but it is clear to me the public wants those videos released. And I think we need to have a conversation on that I also think it needs to be legislated. With clear direction. And not left up to. Local officials such as a police chief verse eatery. Before we started. This show you had sit there are some issues that really you hope that I would cover haven't left anything else so far. Something that so I think you've got to you over here burning a daughter of well. You know one thing that I've seen is. Demands on our officers in that we did a staffing study that indicates we need to add police officers. And what I am seen on the streets is that our officers are are working hard they're going called at call. And it's in hitting them from doing a lot of the community efforts that I wanna do. The building those relationships the other big thing that I've seen and the surrounds his around use of force but. The gals and guys and their uniforms of their protecting us are my charged them has been talk. Through situations. Slow down don't Russian and use force. If you don't have to. But the reality is they've got fifteen calls waiting in some circumstances and they. What are realizing that their partners are waiting for them to clear this call so what I have seen on the street is that sometimes are saying okay. Now citizen you need to do this or else you're gonna go to jail rights of the talking isn't happening because they're feeling rushed then it goes and use of force situation and it's my responsibility to advocate for them and share with the citizens that we need some more cops up there to prevent some of the stuff from happening and work on those relations. Blowing you talk about recruiting and retaining police officers and through that to challenge now. Are there enough people out there is there a pool out there are people who want to beat police officers well. It's not like when I start in the early ninety's I show up showed up for a test that one department. There is 600 people there from the chief got a got up in the front he said well thanks for showing up piece that I hoped to have one vacancy this year. Like what am I doing here Hillary but the reality is so it's not like that but we are seeing a good. Pool of candidates we we're gonna hopefully Phil class of thirty and starting next month. The individuals I'm seen come from. Really different backgrounds. That when they're gonna make great cops a lot of four year degrees even some advanced degrees. So we have to work harder for the candidates but they're still there and we're filling the seats with quality people. But it put it was to be a challenge. Facing WP right now. Staffing and that back to the staffing issues no doubt OK it's busy out there but one of the biggest coup if you look back and count the successes of that you've seen over the past two years since you've been police chief in Wichita or can you name water to those achieved here are proud of you think you've we've done well on. Well I think back here or getting closer to the community. And the community I think is feeling better about the PD. Because we've been focusing on relationships. Who going back to the cameras in the traffic stops we've also been focusing on discretion. And recognizing that discretion and education and communication is a key. Aspect of how we do and Howard judged by the public. And taking the time just explained things to people kind of that procedural justice. Mentality where. Rather than just writing someone a ticket you stick their extra time to explain what's going on why this is a traffic area that we're working on. And spending some time with. Board explaining. To well as you have the time to do that to grant. And I've taken away one thing today I've learned which are probably already news as police officers don't like to write tickets. I've tried did not Smart opera you. I don't I didn't like I keep it under control as easy answers yes I should say you know I mean. When you get that guy with the right sometimes it's not it's harder right this. Right at the well as soon as always thanks for your time he had that this so far I think you've done it just my opinion looks like a pretty good two years so far for the Cuban oil. Well as far as imperfect we got great people see that makes my job a lot easier I mean you work hard anyway and see that. I'm portrayal of my job but the people that I am that I work with. Make it easy right. I guess his Wichita police chief Gordon Ramsay who's been on the job I thought one year he's been on the job two years. That's all for this edition of issues Tony seventeenth. We'll be back next week thank you for listing. I Steve Macintosh.