Wichita receives grant to address gun violence

Crime

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita announced the city received a grant to combat gun violence.

The grant will be used, in part, to fund a new center to slow gun violence.

There will be a Crime Gun Intelligence Center added to the Wichita Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Training Center.

The $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will help the Wichita Police Department also hire a certified firearms examiner. And there will be a forensic machine purchased to assist in identifying evidence from gun crimes.

“Which will help them track shell casings and identify guns used in various shootings,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, Stephen McAllister. “We are very excited about this grant.”

McAllister said the grant will help lead to convictions, both state and federal.

Mayor Jeff Longwell said this will give added value to an increase in the number of police officers being brought onto the force in Wichita.

“Public safety, that’s been our number one priority,” said Longwell. “And you can’t do that unless you are pouring your resources into public safety. So it’s not just about adding bodies because adding bodies without a strategic plan doesn’t get you there.”

The grant is part of a federal initiative aimed at putting more resources into cities that are fighting violent crime problems.

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister, Deputy State Director Mike Zamrzla from Sen. Jerry Moran’s office, Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell all talked about the grant and what it means.

“We want the Wichita Police Department to have more tools to fight violent crime,” said McAllister. “Technology, intelligence and community engagement are the keys to identifying firearms used in crimes and successfully prosecuting armed criminals.”

In Wichita, shootings have increased each year since 2014. Specifically, in 2018, Wichita experienced nearly twice as many shootings as experienced in 2014.

In its application for the grant, the Wichita Police Department outlined plans to develop the Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC), including a crime analyst, an investigator, training, software for data analysis, bullets, cameras, a remote test fire system, microscope, bullet detection sensors, a CGIC prosecutor and forensic examiner. The plan includes funding for Wichita State University to serve as a research partner. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will work with police on the project.

“This program will help advance Wichita’s ongoing efforts to modernize the way they investigate and address gun-related crimes,” said Sen. Jerry Moran in a written statement to KSN. “I will continue to work with the Wichita Police Department on how we can best equip our men and women in uniform to keep our communities safe.”

Funding is being provided by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance through the National Crime Gun Intelligence Center initiative.

“WPD is excited about this new technology to more effectively address and investigate gun-related crime in Wichita,” Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said. “WPD appreciates Sen. Moran’s continued support in helping to lower violent crime in our city.”

More information on the program is available at this website.

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