Proposed legislation could make officer-involved shooting investigation public

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TOPEKA, Kan. -- After an officer-involved shooting Friday morning in Kansas, new legislation at the state house is on the minds of many people.

The bill could make evidence in police-involved shooting deaths public, but only if the officer doesn't face any charges.

Police shot at a man Friday morning after he opened fire on them in the area of 11th and Quindaro in Kansas City. Police did not kill the shooter. If they had, however, that new Kansas bill could make the entire investigation public.

"Right now, lacking in the state of Kansas is the public's access to information and documentation regarding deaths that are an officer-involved shooting," said Sheila Albers.

House Bill 2424 would require police-involved shooting deaths to be investigated by two outside agencies. If the officer who fired isn't criminally charged, the investigation would be made public, too.

"That transparency provides the community trust and accountability, and that transparency then brings about better policies and better training, which insures safety for everyone," Albers said.

Sheila Albers' son was shot and killed by police in their driveway back in 2018. She's been fighting for more transparency ever since. "You have to be able to access the information and factual evidence around tragic situations," she said.

She also said that the information around her son's death would have looked different if this law was in place.

"There are pieces of that media statement that are just not factual, and I think if there had been supporting documentation and evidence, that media statement would have been written differently and I think the accountability piece would have been different," she said.

The bill is in early but Albers plans to be there every step of the way.

The next hearing for the bill is on Tuesday. Albers plans on testifying about her own personal experience at that hearing. The legislation does say personal information like the addresses and phone numbers of officers do not have to be disclosed.