Wichita's police chief is responding to controversial video showing a state senator talking her way out of serious speeding tickets. Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau is heard telling of influential city leaders she knows... and ultimately getting out of a citation.
But it didn't stop at name-dropping. At one point during one of the stops, Faust-Goudeau pulled out a challenge coin and claimed that Police Chief Norman Williams had given it to her to use if she ever needed it. The coins are given out by the department for things such as doing a good deed. They are also collector's items to promote themselves.
"I've had this, like, for four years and Norman Williams said if I ever had to use it, to use it," the Senator said during one stop. "So you can tell Norman that I finally had to use my little... deal that he gave me."
The first video of Faust-Goudeau is from October, 2009. As the officer approaches, he explains that she was doing nearly 20 miles-per-hour over the speed limit.
"The reason I'm stopping you," the officer said, "I got you speeding here in a 30 mile-per-hour zone. I got you doing 48 miles-per-hour, ma'am."
At 8:30 that night, Faust-Goudeau explains that she is a state senator and was trying to get back to Topeka. Then she claimed that her teenage daughter was having an emergency at home and that she was almost out of gas.
"I was trying to not run out of gas and get home to my daughter," she said. "Are you able to follow me so if I run out of gas you can help me?"
The senator also told the officer of her acquaintances with a city council member and the president of the Greater Wichita Sports Commission.
Chief Williams responded to the senator's use of a challenge coin to attempt to get out of a ticket.
"It is not intended for anyone to use in that manner," Williams said. "It's our way of acknowledging an effort or promoting the organization, but not to get out of any kind of situation."
Just last month, the senator was captured on another officer's camera for speeding 13 miles-per-hour over the limit. Although she never expressly asked to get out of the ticket, here was her initial response.
"I'm Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau and I do have my insurance and drivers license. I just got off the highway from Topeka and stopped home to pick up my daughter."
But instead of handing over her drivers license, Faust-Goudeau gave the officer her legislative ID card and some other papers. She eventually did provide her license.
On that second stop, the senator told the officer that she had just left a meeting with Chief Williams to discuss racial profiling concerns in the city. The chief on Wednesday denied that and said it was not true.
Ultimately, Faust-Goudeau got out of both tickets. Today, she sent us this one-sentence statement:
"At no such time did I ever use my influence as a state lawmaker to receive favorable treatment from Wichita Police Officers. No one is above the law."
We pulled Oletha Faust-Goudeau's record with the Wichita Police Department and found that she has been pulled over nine times since 1999 in which she received 12 citations for, among other things, speeding and running a stop sign. Of those 12 citations, five of them were dismissed and she pleaded guilty or no contest to the remaining seven.
Faust-Goudeau is currently the ranking minority leader of the state ethics and election committee.