Wichita Police Department homicide detectives can work up to 20 hours at a time at the beginning of a case.
“I would say we’re pretty darn busy right now you know and swamped would be a good word,” says Captain Brent Allred.
Captain Allred leads the WPD homicide detective unit. He says last year Wichita had “around 18 or 19” homicides.
This year at the same time the number is at 30. The unit has six dedicated homicide detectives.
To help with the homicide case load, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is offering help.
“We actually had a meeting with them yesterday. A couple of their agents came down and asked us how they can help and participate and be of assistance to us,” says Captain Allred. “And we’re getting that from a number of agencies.”
Captain Allred says while they have been swamped, they have been proactively trying to shuffle the deck inside the police department as well.
“We’ll shift resources up here. We added we have a couple of detectives that are actually assigned to the gang felony assault section that we actually assigned to take some homicide cases to help that section out. So we’ll shift resources when we can,” explains Captain Allred. “The problem is every section is so busy right now, patrol is so busy right now, it’s hard to shift any resources.”
While WPD has six dedicated homicide detectives, they do more than just work homicides. Some detectives can get up to six new cases a day. Those homicide detectives get cases from suicides to missing person just to name a few.
Other agencies say collaboration can be key in detective work, and they are willing to offer help where they can.
“When we’re asked to assist other agencies, we gladly assist them whatever the case may be,” says Tim Myers with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department. “Suspects don’t always remain in this jurisdiction so we ask law enforcement agencies from other communities, other states, FBI, wherever we can get the help, to apprehend the suspect. That’s what we rely on.”
WPD has set its sights on adding two more detectives in homicide.
“We are looking at adding two additional detectives in the future,” says Captain Allred. “This is just in the homicide section. We have other detectives in the bureau that work gang cases, sex crimes, etc.”
Meanwhile, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says he remains dedicated to stopping violent crime. Captain Allred points out the Chief and others have the department actively involved in getting help from Federal agencies.
“We have something called Project Safe Neighborhood which is through the U.S. Attorney’s Office and that has partnered a lot of those agencies. The ATF, FBI and some of the DEA in that Project Safe Neighborhood, which looks at how can we make this community safer,” says Captain Allred. “So they got involved in Project Safe Neighborhood, and we try to communicate as a group to show what’s going on. I think pooling the resources and seeing what we can do to get the guns off the streets, put the violent criminals in jail to stop this is going to take everybody effort to get that done.”