WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Addressing the violence and curbing the crime. The Wichita Police Department’s (WPD) interim police chief is laying out his plans to keep kids from getting hurt or killed this summer.
Last week, Interim-Chief Lem Moore said that teen violence in Wichita needs to be addressed, not through meetings but through actions. On Tuesday, he shared what is in motion to engage the youth in healthier activities.
“There is a huge problem that needs to be addressed now as the interim police chief, all of our men and women in law enforcement and in Sedgwick County,” said Moore.
Moore said that in the last seven days, 15 kids have been involved in crime in Wichita, and he wants to bring that number down. He said he is working with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Wichita State University and federal partners to find solutions. He is even working to have conversations with those involved in the potential violence.
“I want to be able to bring juveniles to the table and that way we are able to hear the voices from different levels,” said Moore.
Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson has been calling for parents to get more involved in their children’s lives and said since last week more community leaders are out connecting to teens.
“I have seen some people step up and go to spaces where young people are at, whether that’s the mall or some of our swimming pools and just hang out for a couple of hours. That’s something that I greatly appreciate,” said Johnson.
Johnson said the hope is these community leaders could mitigate any conflict that might arise between the juveniles at those locations. But he said more people and legislators need to step up.
“It’s gonna have to be a community solution. The gun regulations piece is just a piece of it, but we’re gonna have to come together as a community and find a way to put an end to this,” said Johnson.
Moore said he would be working with community contacts to bring many different kids to the conversation, including contacts with the juvenile correction system. Hoping to find out what exactly they say would work best for them to cut down violence between peers.