First Steps Community Cookout.
Posted by Wichita Police Department on Sunday, July 17, 2016
Despite protests and shootings across the nation threatening to tear the country apart, one Kansas city took the initiative to come together- bridging the divide with a barbecue.
According to KWCH, over 1,000 people in Wichita attended what is being called the “First Steps Cookout”, an opportunity for the public -including those who were going to protest against police brutality- an opportunity to meet officer, have meaningful conversations and take advantage of free food.
The cookout took place of a planned protest planned for Sunday night after Police Chief Gordon Ramsay suggested it to community leaders, citing that it would actually be cheaper than paying for additional officers and overtime needed for a protest.
Wichita Police officers brought and served the food, with many citizens donating food to assist.
“Especially after what happened in Baton Rouge today, just makes it all the more painful. But I just feel very proud of my city that there’s so many people here,” said one resident. “It’s wonderful.”
Wichita Police has had a long reputation of maintaining good relations with the public, from proactive policing techniques to maintaining a strong community presence.
Civilians and officers say the cookout was a success and is a solid step toward bridging the gap between the citizenry and civil servants.
“This isn’t something we’re going to change overnight or tonight,” Chief Ramsay said. “It’s just going to take continual effort on everybody’s part. And work on policy changes, relationships. And that’s what’s going to get to the heart of the issues.”
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