Commission on Racial Equity and Justice recommends training, certification for law enforcement

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 2:29 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice has released a list of its recommendations.

Governor Laura Kelly says her Commission on Racial Equity and Justice has publically released its initial report on law enforcement and policing in the State of Kansas.

According to Gov. Kelly, in June of 2020, she signed Executive Order No. 20-48 which established her Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. She said the Commission’s mission was to study issues of racial equity and justice within the state. She said it began working and focused on law enforcement and policing.

“I’m proud to see that the Commission has engaged with so many diverse communities and stakeholder groups across Kansas to compile recommendations that get to the heart of these issues,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I implore legislators and law enforcement agencies across the state to take a close look at these recommendations and see how they can create real change for the communities they serve.”

Gov. Kelly said she appointed a diverse group of law enforcement, academia, public education, public health, local government and justice system officials to the Commission. She said over the past five months, it met with dozens of stakeholders, community members and law enforcement professionals throughout the state and collected input for recommendations on improving law enforcement interactions with their communities.

According to Gov. Kelly, the Commission is led by co-chairs Dr. Tiffany Anderson and Dr. Shannon Portillo. She said it held five bi-weekly meetings and hosted 26 learning sessions with community members and stakeholders.

“We are thankful for the hundreds of community members, law enforcement professionals, and all those who took the time to candidly and selflessly present their ideas and expertise to help lead us to become a more equitable state,” said the co-chairs. “Through the many hours of virtual meetings, we have learned how dedicated so many fellow Kansans are to do what it takes to create a safer, more trusting, and more inclusive environment for all. Our work was given deeper meaning and value through their participation and recommendations.”

Gov. Kelly said the week of Nov. 30, the Commission submitted a report to her with over 60 recommendations on ways state agencies, the legislature and local governments can improve racial equity around the law enforcement and policing in the state of Kansas. She said the recommendations address topics like law enforcement training, accountability, data collection and behavioral health. The list includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Law Enforcement Training
  • Officer Certification Standards
  • Recruitment, Retention and Promotion
  • Accountability
  • Data Collection
  • Public Defense
  • Tribal Jurisdiction
  • Behavioral Health
  • Funding
  • Public Defense
  • Justice System
  • School Resource Officers
  • Immigration and Law Enforcement
  • Funding

According to Gov. Kelly, the Commission will meet Thursday, Dec. 10, to discuss its future focuses. She said Commissioners will look at racial equity and justice in the context of various frameworks in Kansas, like mental health, education, housing and economic opportunity. She said per E.O. No. 20-48, the Commission will submit to her a second report by July 1, 2021, and a final report by Jan. 1, 2022.

The full report from the Commission can be found here.

A summary of recommendations can be found here.

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