WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita City Council approved a Wichita Police Department request for a federal partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service known as Operation Triple Beam. This is as part of an effort to address a surge in violent crime.
Police want help from the U.S. Marshals Service as gun violence escalates in the city. Nine people were shot over the past weekend, including a police officer who was shot in the head and legs. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said the officer’s prognosis has improved.
Mother Dorsha Kirksey lost her son to a shooting on January 2, 2020. She said the increase in violence needs to end.
“I have to say I’ve been shocked and really saddened by the amount of violence that we’ve had here in Wichita, especially of late,” she said. “Every time I see that somebody else got shot or there was another shooting or something like that, it just brings everything back, you know from George.”
Kirksey said this partnership is a big move in the right direction. She said U.S. Marshalls helped arrest the man accused of her son’s murder.
“That partnership has been proven to be fruitful for me and my family,” said Kirksey.
Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said this operation will allow officers to work overtime, focusing on the outstanding warrants for felony drug and weapon offenses. U.S. Marshalls will assist, utilizing their crews in cities and states surrounding Kansas. Chief Ramsay said it will help reduce crime.
“When we enacted it in 2019, we saw our numbers decrease in many many different categories significantly,” he said. “They lowered shootings, they lowered violent crime and for me it was, it was great to see.”
Chief Ramsay said in 2020, the department didn’t have the operation in place and saw the numbers rise. He said it’s ramped up the initiative from the federal government.
“The Biden administration announced more funding and more attention to the increase in violent crime that we’re seeing across the country,” said Chief Ramsay. “Triple Beam was a tremendous program to help us turn around our violent crime numbers.”
Operation Triple Beam would be a 60-day effort starting in July with the goal of investigating and arresting people who have active state or federal arrest warrants.
“Triple beam is laser-focused on our violent offenders, and it brings in a tremendous amount of resources to help us apprehend them and get them in custody,” said Chief Ramsay.
The last time Operation Triple Beam was held in Wichita in 2019, the efforts ended with 556 felony and 374 misdemeanor arrests, the seizure of 82 guns, over $142,000 in cash and $835,000 in illegal narcotics.