Wichita’s first Latino deputy chief retires after 28 years. He is suing City Hall

Jose Salcido — the Wichita Police Department’s first Latino deputy chief — quietly resigned from his position as the head of investigations last month after 28 years with the department.

Salcido declined to comment through his attorney. A Wichita Police Department spokesperson said Salcido’s last day was Aug. 21 “due to a service retirement.”

Salcido, who had been the longest tenured officer on the executive staff, was the last holdover from former Chief Gordon Ramsay’s leadership team. Deputy Chiefs Lem Moore and Chester Pinkston recently retired from Wichita. Liberal, Kansas, hired Pinkston as its chief of police in January. The city of Derby hired Moore as its chief in August.

Wichita Police Department leadership roles are now filled with appointees chosen by Chief Joe Sullivan, who took over the department in November. Sullivan promoted Paul Duff and Dan East to deputy chief positions earlier this year.

Salcido filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Wichita in February after being passed over multiple times for promotion in the 18 months since Ramsay resigned. The lawsuit says he recently sought jobs outside Wichita, including unsuccessful applications to police departments in Derby and Austin, Texas.

He and former deputy chiefs Wanda Givens-Parker and Pinkston are suing the city, the Fraternal Order of Police, City Manager Robert Layton, former Human Resources Director Chris Bezruki, former interim Chief Troy Livingston, former Captain over the SWAT team Kevin Kochenderfer, former Captain Wendell Nicholson and police union leaders Det. Dave Inkelaar and Officer Paul Zamorano.

Their lawsuit alleges the city officials conspired to “defame and disempower” them for trying to reform racist, misogynistic and violent attitudes and behavior within the department; trying to keep the FOP from meddling in officer shooting investigations; complaining about undue influence and gifts from the FOP to Bezruki; and claiming Layton knew about a racist text messaging scandal months earlier than he said he did.

They filed their lawsuit in response to an internal city report that blamed them for mishandling an internal investigation and the discipline of officers who sent racist, sexist and homophobic text messages. The report recommended Salcido and others receive extensive training and be evaluated to determine whether they were fit to serve in leadership roles.

The city and city officials past and present are seeking a dismissal of the former deputy chief’s lawsuit, claiming in filings that it has no merit.

At least two surveys of department members found rank-and-file officers were dissatisfied with department leadership during Salcido’s tenure, citing low morale, a loss of trust and feelings of unfairness in discipline and promotions.

Salcido has declined multiple interview requests about his role in the text messaging scandal.