OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -- Mental health was just one part of the focus Wednesday at a public safety meeting. They also want more mental health training for officers, but they also brought up transparency, which got a bit touchy.
John Albers was a high school junior who was shot to death by police in January 2018. He drove away from a 911 call response meant to save him from harm.
“I miss John. His absence is something I deal with every day,” Sheila Albers, Johns mom and the creator of the non-profit JOCO UNITED, said.
Wednesday, her group brought an idea to the Public Safety Committee of the Overland Park City Council, a Safety Citizen Advisory Board to, “support and enable greater transparency.”
Albers and her group have been critical of how officials handled the decision not to charge the officer.
The district attorney released dash cam video showing the 17-year-old Albers backing out in the family van as an officer stood nearby. But officials have denied requests to release the investigative report, even after the city settled a civil case with the Albers family for $2.3 million.
By law, they don’t have to, but JOCO UNITED says doing so would help build trust.
“There was a spin that was placed to essentially reflect that there was a justification in shooting and killing John,” Doug Westerhouse, with JOCO UNITED, said.
One council member took offense to that. Though he supported JOCO UNITED’S other focus, which is to increase existing training and partnerships for mental health resources in the police departments.
“We need citizens advisory to tell us what we’re doing. We do not need a body looking over our shoulder re-trying cases,” Dave White, an Overland Park City Councilman, said.
The Police Chief says he would support an advisory board on the topic as long it is not a super visory board with authority over policy.