New ordinance to help curb police calls at businesses

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - Wichita police have a new tool in their arsenal to handle businesses that have problems over and over again: a nuisance abatement program. The setup is similar to plans you would see around the country, according to Chief Gordon Ramsay.

The plan would focus on multiple reports of criminal violations called "trigger events." After two events, one shooting, or a search warrant, police will notify the business owner that one more incident will qualify them as a nuisance. If that additional event happens, they'll have a hearing with the police department to develop a plan to fix things. Ramsay says it's all an effort to avoid having police acting as property managers to businesses that consistently have problems.

"We need owners to take responsibility for their properties, and be good neighbors, and deal with issues as they arise so that we're not constantly going there," he said, "essentially, we're chasing our tails right now. Something has to change."

While Ramsay says most business owners are glad to come to the table to try to figure out a solution to help reduce their numbers of calls to police, those that don't will have to pay a hefty cost. Rather than a fine, they'll cover the costs of any subsequent police calls.

"They don't work with us to abate the problem, they will be paying for the officers time, the cost of the squad car, and other associated costs," Ramsay said.

The plan should be in operation in January.

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