Police reform a top priority for governor’s commission amid Chauvin trial verdict

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Governor Laura Kelly said Wednesday that Kansas’ efforts to boost police reform remain a top priority for the state in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s trial verdict.

Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd.

Since Floyd’s death, the governor established a Racial Equity and Justice Commission, spearheaded by Topeka Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Kansas, Dr. Shannon Portillo.

The governor told KSNT’s Capitol Bureau about the commission’s ongoing efforts to push forward legislation and law enforcement training to address racial disparities.

“They have submitted a number of recommendations to the legislature,” Kelly said. “There’s a lot more to do.”

Dr. Anderson and Dr. Portillo spoke about legislation that’s been introduced to address issues in tribal communities in the state.

Representative Ponka-We Victors, D-Wichita, and Representative Christina Haswood, D-Lawrence, introduced House Bill 2008 this year. The bill was signed into law and calls for law enforcement training for missing and murdered indigenous people.

Dr. Portillo said the commission is focusing on creating a path for legislation, like the bill, to be passed.

“This will be ongoing for years to come to get to the place where we need to be as a state,” she said.

The Racial Equity and Justice Commission has also focused on addressing barriers in providing socially vulnerable communities with opportunity.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson said the commission has been broken down into three areas, focusing on education, economics, and healthcare. Anderson said the commission has opened the door for more conversations that will help create change.

“We will make sure that your voices are heard, and that you’re empowered to help make change,” Anderson said.

The next Racial Equity and Justice Commission meeting will be held May 20. Click here to learn more.

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