Kansas group studying big changes in policing

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KANSAS — Police reform is causing controversy across the country. One Kansas group is studying big changes as well.

A state committee studying racial equality and justice is taking a look at what needs to change with police in the state. They’re getting input from black officers on what needs to change.

Slave patrols – they were used to make sure slaves were following the rules. And black officers in Kansas say similar patrols are happening today.

Tiffany Anderson, Commission on Racial Equity and Justice, said, “Often, particularly in high minority communities, you may see increased policing and behaviors that you may not see in other communities because of this slave patrol mentality.”

Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Tiffany Anderson is co-chairing the state’s new commission on racial equity and justice. She says the group wants to require law enforcement across the state to have history training – to get a better understanding of minority communities.

The commission is also looking at who is teaching the officers and how to add diversity to the training and to the police forces.

Shannon Portillo, Commission on Racial Equity and Justice, said, “Right now, we don’t have very good data about what our police forces look like, we actually don’t know what the overall diversity numbers are in the state.”

And the commission says officers need more ongoing training while they’re carrying a badge.

The commission’s report will go to the governor and the state legislature for any possible changes to the law.

Recommendations will also go to local municipalities for things that can change right away.

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