WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple confirmed that the Wichita Police Department has provided security at his home. He was not specific about why, but he and the police chief indicated it is because of threats.
KSN News asked the mayor about the security at his home during a Thursday morning news conference at City Hall.
“I’ll let the chief speak to this because I have to follow the advice of our law enforcement professionals when it comes to keeping myself and my family safe,” Whipple said.
He went on to imply he has been threatened.
“We need to, I believe, do better when it comes to our political discourse than resorting to, I guess, the type of stuff that would lead to elected officials being unsafe,” Whipple said. “I have three little kids. I have a wife. And so I have to approach this, not just as the mayor but as a dad, and with that, I won’t be intimidated.”
The mayor said he could not talk about the case because it is essential to protect the integrity of the investigation. Interim Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston agreed.
“I want to make a brief statement,” Livingston said. “I think you can, well, you should, appreciate the difficult position that the mayor is in.”
He then read the following statement:
“If there’s a credible threat made against our elected officials or any city employee related to fulfilling their duties here at city hall, standard protocol is for them to notify the chief of police and the city manager, who in turn will work together to determine if security is appropriate to ensure their safety. We have done that.
“We will not discuss this matter further or provide details on who, how, or why we’re providing the security as it could compromise the effectiveness of our security program. Thank you.”
The mayor ended his thoughts on the topic by saying, “I will continue to do my job as mayor, regardless.”
KSN News has reached out to the City of Wichita to learn more about whether officers are being pulled from their normal beats to provide security and how the City is paying for the security. We have not heard back yet.
We also requested copies of emails and communications through the Kansas Open Records Act. On Monday, the City of Wichita denied the request.
“The records requested include tactical plans and resource deployment. The disclosure of such records would ‘pose a substantial likelihood of revealing security measures that protect .. private property or persons.’ Such records may be discretionarily withheld from release under KORA,” the City said.
KSN News also asked for a copy of the policy regarding security for City officials. The City said it has searched for the document and found no formal written policy.
“However, the protocol utilized by the city is if a credible threat is made to elected officials or any City employee related to fulfilling their duties to the City, standard protocol is for them to alert the Chief of Police and City Manager, who work to determine whether extra security is appropriate to ensure their safety,” the City said in its response.