Salina Police Chief Brad Nelson is responding to the death of George Floyd, and the resulting events which have swept across the country.
The Chief issued the following message Monday Evening:
Like the majority of Americans, I found the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer to be extremely disturbing and tragic, and absolutely avoidable. George Floyd should not have died on May 25th; that is clear!
In my 35 years of policing in two states and three law enforcement agencies, I have NEVER heard of or received training utilizing the tactics used in Minneapolis to “control” an already restrained citizen, ever.
I have no doubt that the majority of Americans support peaceful protests to have their voices heard regarding policing in America. The Light Up the Night Vigil for Justice held by the Salina branch of the NAACP on Saturday evening and the downtown march held Sunday organized by Miranda Bachman were phenomenal examples of how to enact change without the wanton destruction of both public and private property. For that, all Salina citizens should be very proud!
In my over six-years as your Chief, I have been extremely impressed by the support we receive on a daily basis from the community, and it makes me proud to be your Chief.
In the past several years, we have made substantial efforts to engage with the Salina community, and we remain committed to continuing and improving upon these efforts.
In an effort to further our interactions with our community, we have introduced and/or participate in the following programs:
- After several year absence, re-introduced Citizens Police Academy
- Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bigs In Blue mentoring program
- Heroes and Helpers initiative with Target providing Christmas gifts to
children in the Saline County area
- 99KG Toy-A-Thon
- Special Olympics Polar Plunge
- Coffee with a Cop
- Annual Fishing w/ A Cop event
- Annual Halloween Cops & Costume event at the Salina Police Department
- Special Needs & Alert Program
We have also been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) since 1996. In order to achieve and maintain CALEA accreditation our policies and practices are thoroughly reviewed by assessors from outside our agency to insure that we implement and follow the “best practices” for law enforcement agencies that are recommended worldwide.
Our officers receive extensive training regarding our Use of Force policy throughout their entire career. Every single use of force by Salina officers is reviewed by a multitude of supervisors with the final review by the Chief of Police.
We specifically provide training to our officers on Fair and Impartial Policing as well as how to recognize and avoid Bias Based Policing, including hosting forums at Kansas Wesleyan University. We have also introduced Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and Mental Health 1st Aid Training to all our officers in an effort to recognize citizens who may be experiencing a mental health crisis so they can respond accordingly.
In 2018, the majority of our policies and procedures, including our Use of Force Policy, were placed online to further our efforts for transparency. This policy and many others can be found at: https://www.powerdms.com/public/SPD2/tree/documents/234016
Our policies make it abundantly clear that officers must de-escalate once an individual is restrained or stops resisting. It states that:
- Only the amount of force that is reasonable and necessary to accomplish a lawful police objective shall be applied, and the use of force shall cease immediately upon accomplishment of the police objective.
- De-escalation of force is moving to a lesser force option on the use of force continuum. Officers shall de-escalate force at the earliest opportunity to do so safely.
Our policy also makes it clear that all officers on-scene are responsible for the safety and well-being of everyone we encounter. In that regard our policy says:
- Each and every member of the Department is charged with the responsibility to monitor and control the use of force during operations involving multiple officers. Supervisory and non-supervisory personnel alike will be held strictly accountable to intervene, halt and report any use of force perceived to be excessive.
It is my pledge to you that we will continue to engage with those we serve in a courteous and professional manner. I can be reached at [email protected] or (785) 826-7210. It is my desire to further improve our efforts to connect with the community we so proudly serve.
Brad L. Nelson, Chief of Police
Message from Mayor Mike Hoppock:
As we all know, our country currently is in a state of unrest following the death of George Floyd. I would like to thank all of those involved in the Light Up the Night Vigil for Justice held Saturday evening in Caldwell Plaza, and those who participated in the No Justice No Peace march Sunday, for their courteous and respectful behavior. I think both of these events spoke well of Salina. We, as a city, are currently investing a significant amount of money in a police training facility. I believe this investment will help us with situational/judgement training, and, along with ongoing training and dialogue, we can hopefully help to avoid any incidents like the one in Minneapolis. I think we all pray that our country can heal and that we can all become united as one.
Mike Hoppock, Mayor
Message from City Manager Mike Schrage:
The injustices that we continue to witness are pervasive, persistent and extremely alarming, and they continue to erode the public’s confidence in police officers nationwide. We cannot view them as isolated events that have happened in other communities as if Salina is insulated from what is going on around us. I certainly don’t claim to have a simple solution to such a complex and long-standing issue, but we are committed to proactively reviewing what we are currently doing and what we can do better. I sincerely believe that the City of Salina and the Salina Police Department remain very motivated to do the right thing, and that we are open to review and improvement. Police Chief Nelson and I have spoken, and our focus will be on continual review and assessment of our training and organizational culture, as well as insuring that there is proper accountability throughout all levels of our organization. This can also serve as a starting point for us to identify ways to increase and sustain community dialogue. The recent tragedies that have taken place are justifiably reasons for continued frustration that just further divide us. Salina is such a strong community in so many ways. I am hopeful that we can concentrate our efforts on coming together to improve our performance and our relationships.
Mike Schrage, City Manager