WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department held a news conference Monday to discuss the successes of a recent collaborative effort with the U.S. Marshals Service to reduce violent crime in Wichita titled, “Operation Triple Beam.”
The 60 day operation was held from June through July and helped decrease violent crime in Wichita by targeting violent offenders. Several law enforcement agencies participated.
The focus was on high crime areas in the city. Intelligence showed where to find specific suspects with outstanding warrants.
“But it’s a small group of people committing all the crimes,” said District Attorney Marc Bennett. “You don’t have to go stopping cars on Central Avenue and pulling people out and doing checkpoints to reduce crime.”
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.
“We did not run sweeps in neighborhoods just to arrest people. We were arresting people who had warrants for their arrest,” said U.S. Marshal Ronald Miller.
Police offered statistics to say the sweep worked.
Shooting numbers in Wichita from June and July in 2018 were at 42. In the same months for 2019, there were 25 documented shootings.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said the efforts will continue and have been ongoing with his office and others.
“Operation Triple Beam was obviously a terrific operation,” said Sheriff Easter. “And that will continue. I want to make sure the citizens understand this doesn’t just stop there.”
Miller said they did arrest 119 gang members. He addressed the gang portion of Operation Triple Beam.
“Part of what Triple Beam is, from the federal perspective, is a gang enforcement initiative,” said Miller. “It’s a collaborative effort to arrest gang members with a warrant for their arrest. We have to deal with the issue of gangs at whatever level it exists. This is a gang problem everywhere. Wichita is between Chicago and Dallas. These things exist and that’s why this initiative exists, is to address this issue. “
Miller said the ongoing efforts will continue with the Kansas Fugitive Apprehension Task Force as well.
Both Bennett and Easter talked about how drugs and mental health issues contribute to violent crime.
Easter said many of those arrested will visit his jail more than once.