Man falsely suspected of theft has positive takeaway from WPD encounter

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It’s a situation that for many, would be frustrating. Clarence Officer didn’t do anything wrong and he was confused when Wichita police approached him while he was shopping at Walmart on North Rock Road. But it was a situation that ended with mutual admiration.

“As I was walking out, I see about four or five police officers walking toward me,” Officer said. “My hands were full and I’m joking like, ‘are you guys coming to help me carry this out?’'

But those officers were looking for someone who matched Clarence Officer’s description after Walmart called to report a larceny in progress and that someone was trespassing.

“And they said, ‘we’re going to arrest you for trespassing, you’re not supposed to be in the store,’” Officer said. “I said, ‘Who, me?’ I said, ‘I retired from here, it’s not me.’ And he said, ‘Are you Charles?’ And I said, ‘No, my name is Clarence Officer.’ He said, ‘you have some ID?’ ‘Yeah, sure.’ (I) pulled it out and showed him and he said, ‘Oh, you’re not the one we’re looking for.’”

It’s a situation that could have had a different outcome, but Clarence Officer said thanks to the officers with the WPD, it didn’t.

“They were courteous, they were friendly and they gave me the utmost respect all the way. So I can’t do anything but applaud them because they did a fantastic job,” Officer said.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said he’s proud of his officers.

“We know that it’s not what you know, as the old adage goes, it’s not what you say or do, but it’s how you make people feel that counts,” Ramsay said. “And in this case, really highlights that our officers did a good job in a very sensitive situation in making a wrong a right.”

Officer said the WPD officers did exactly that.

“They never did demean me in any kind of way. And I saw them later on in the day over on 21st about Minneapolis and Minnesota. They were doing something over there and I pulled over there and said, ‘you guys following me?’ And we laughed about it. We need police like that. We need police that we can go to for help.”

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