A bill in the Kansas House of Representatives would, if passed, eliminate anonymous reports of police misconduct in the state.

A bill in the Kansas House of Representatives would, if passed, eliminate anonymous reports of police misconduct in the state.
The bill, HB 2698, hasn’t made it out of committee, but law enforcement agencies across the state and the NAACP have voiced their opposition to the bill in public hearings.
McPherson Police Chief Rob McClarty said he is also opposed to the bill.
“Citizens need to be able to openly express concerns they have with police,” McClarty said.
He said this process could be hampered if people can’t make complaints anonymously.
The bill would require those wishing to file a complaint to sign an affidavit. Larry Powell, McPherson County sheriff, said his department doesn’t accept anonymous reports and said this policy has dramatically reduced the number of unfounded complaints.
“We can get phone calls all day of people reporting because they can,” Powell said. “People might be mad they got a speeding ticket and make a complaint when the deputy was just doing his job.”
McClarty said his department has received nine complaints in the last 18 months, one of which was substantiated. Powell did not say how many complaints he has received but said he makes sure all complaints are investigated.
Powell said having video cameras in cars has been a big help in investigating complaints, and any false ones are usually ruled out by video evidence.
“We review the tape, and it’s easy to tell,” Powell said.
The NAACP and some law enforcement agencies said eliminating anonymous complaints will increase the public’s mistrust of police and get in the way of investigations. McClarty said it’s important to hear people’s concerns so his police force can improve.
“If there’s a training issue in the department as a whole, we can look at it and improve our service to the community,” McClarty said.
Powell said while he understands the concern, it can be hard to follow up on complaints without any way to identify the person who reported it.
“If you have a legitimate complaint, we need to know who you are,” Powell said. “The officer is going to say they didn’t do it, and if we have no idea who called in, we might not be able to follow up.”
Powell said his department also takes complaints seriously.
“If we get a complaint, I make sure to follow up,” Powell said.