TOPEKA, Kan. — A bill inspired by the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old in Overland Park would require Kansas law enforcement agencies to change how they handle such shootings.
Under the bill, all law enforcement agencies would be required to have a written policy for investigations when police kill someone. Investigations of the shootings would have to be handled by an outside agency, which would be required to release its investigative report to the public if a prosecutor determines that the officer didn’t commit a crime, The Kansas City Star reported.
State Representative David Benson, a Democrat from Overland Park, said he crafted the bill with the help of Sheila Albers, whose son was fatally shot by police in 2018. It will be introduced after the legislative session begins on Monday.
Many Johnson County departments already have written policies in place and every department uses outside agencies to investigate police shootings. But the provision requiring the release of investigative reports would be a change for the county, Albers said.
“When you have objective factual information, then you’re able to train people down the road either to reinforce good decisions or to change bad decisions,” Albers said. “Without the data nobody’s going to learn anything … there’s no way prevent it from happening again.”