The second of three candidates to become the next chief of the University of Kansas Public Safety Office on Thursday made clear that he and many other police chiefs across the country recognize a need for police reform.
And there’s no better time than the present, said Nelson Mosley, who currently serves as chief of the Rose Hill Police Department, just outside of Wichita.
“I think us police chiefs know that based on what’s going on nationwide, there is a time and need for reform and that’s right now. I in my department have already initiated some of the things that have come out as far as changing our policies, looking at our use of force policies, and working on procedures of how to do things the right way,” Mosley said n a virtual presentation to the KU community, “But how this typically comes is we have to have an initial conversation on police-community relationships.”
KU PSO already has a good start on that, Mosley said, since it recently underwent a task force analysis that generated 12 recommendations for improvement — all of which the university agreed to implement. Mosley appeared familiar with the task force findings, which included the formation of an oversight board, a clearer complaint process and improved social services and mental health training for officers.
“I agree with everything that’s in there, and that’s a process of opening communication and dialogue, and having ongoing dialogue with our community,” he said.
“I think community policing is the foundation of what we’re talking about. Treating people with dignity and respect, and building and maintaining healthy, positive relationships with the community we serve,” Mosley said. “That starts with the ongoing dialogue that you’ve already had, and making sure that we continually have community engagement.”
Prior to becoming the Rose Hill Chief of Police in 2016, Mosley served for nearly two years as interim chief of the Wichita Police Department, where he began his career as an officer in 1987. Mosley said Thursday he considered going after the position on a permanent basis, but ultimately decided the timing wasn’t right due to his association with the previous administration that had been beleaguered with officer use of force issues.
“I did consider it, but after being in that chair for two years and just coming in and inheriting a department that needed a lot of changes, we did an assessment of that agency as well. And there were a lot of changes that I implemented, a lot of changes that needed to be done, that should have been done over years before me doing it,” he said. “But the hard part is that sometimes it’s timing it comes down to, and I was associated with prior administration and promoted by my predecessors. I think it was just time for change.”
The university announced Thursday that Rodney Chatman, currently chief of police at the University of Utah, will be the final candidate to offer a campus presentation on police reform on a university campus. That presentation will take place from 1:45-2:45 p.m. on Friday. Register here.
Registration is required for all presentation viewers, and participation in each presentation will be limited to the first 300 registrants, KU said. Questions from viewers will be moderated and presented by search committee members.
Members of the KU community are encouraged to provide feedback on all three candidates by June 13 via the search committee website. However, “Due to miscommunication, recordings of candidate presentations will not be made available as previously announced,” according to the website.
— Note: This story has been corrected from a previous version.