KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Missouri State Senator Brian Williams has a plan to change how police departments in the state operate.
He says it’s about improving relationships between the departments and the communities they serve.
Williams is the sponsor of Missouri Senate Bill 60, which was heard in committee this week. The bill creates more accountability for police officer and includes several changes in how officers conduct themselves.
Senate Bill 60 would:
- Limit no-knock warrants
- Make it tougher to purchase military equipment
- Require officers to take an oath they haven’t been in trouble in another department
- Establish clear plans for officer-involved shootings which include outside agencies
- Require annual reports to the State Attorney General
- Ban neck restraints
There has been a lot of talk about police reform following protests in many U.S. cities last summer. One item in particular targeted by those wanting reforms is the use of chokeholds.
Neck restraints have become a common police tool, thanks in part to the Kansas City Police Department.
The department developed a widely used technique in the 1970s after women were allowed to serve on the department as officers. The technique was a way for smaller officers to control bigger suspects.
KCPD takes exception to the term “chokeholds” saying the maneuvers they use don’t crush a windpipe.
Instead, they restrict blood flow until a person passes out. KCPD believes that, although it rarely uses the neck restraint, it is a valuable tool. The department also added that it would obviously comply with any changes in state law.
“No matter what a department calls it—chokehold, shoulder pin--this bill makes it clear any maneuver which applies pressure to a person’s neck and restricts that person’s neck is prohibited,” said Senator Williams.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas supports the bill.
“I hope that this bill does pass,” said Lucas. “I understand that there will be a lot of advocates on both sides that are talking about it, but ii think the time for chokeholds has ended. It is not a necessary practice in American police.”