Hundreds attend Black Lives Matter - Police cookout

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

More than 1,000 people gathered at McAdams Park Sunday for the First Step Cookout. Children, adults, parents, grandparents, law enforcement officers both on-duty and off-duty, all were aimed at starting a conversation.

"It's building those bridges, building those relationships, in order to prevent cases of excessive force from happening," Djuan Wash of Sunflower Community Action said.

"It's nice to have one of those times when you can talk to the community and the community listens back, and everybody just has a good time," Wichita Police Officer Darrin Williams said.

While other cities across the country continue to deal with protests, blocked roads and marching, Wichita came together for a barbecue where the community could break bread and communicate one-on-one with law enforcement officers.

"The time's come, we've got to rewrite the playbook on how we're doing business and really change the way we're doing things, but it takes two," Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, said. "It takes all parties to come together to make a difference."

The community responded by coming out in volume - not just to enjoy the 2,000 hamburgers and hot dogs donated by people and businesses and cooked by the Wichita Wagonmasters, but to start some real discussions.

Ramsay took questions from people about how he will personally handle racial bias within the Wichita Police Department, and had the opportunity to respond in a face-to-face setting.

"The biggest point that I want to make is that it starts with me, right?" Ramsay said. "And I have set the tone that we are gonna treat people fairly and with dignity and respect, and it starts with me."

While both sides say more discussion needs to take place, the First Step Cookout appears to have been a step in the right direction.

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