New positions for Wichita Police Department could delay funds for other city projects

Local

The Wichita Police Department is just not up to the staffing for a city of its size.

That was what a study found last year. 

Now, the city is trying to add more positions, but it means other projects will have to be pushed back in the budget.

“Public safety is a core service of ours in the city of Wichita,” said James Clendenin, a city council member.

Council members are looking at a three phase approach to adding 73 new positions to Wichita PD.
The first phase will be for 32 positions and will cost $3.2 million.

“It’s a way to take what we’re doing already, the revenue we’re capturing, and able to hire more officers without adding to the debt or increasing taxes,” said Bryan Frye, a city council member.

“This is more of bringing us up to to the level we should be based on our population size,” said Brandon Johnson, a city council member. “And, right now we’re not there. And, because we’re not there, you see those long response times.”

But with the money used for additional positions, funds for projects like the Douglas Design District could be delayed.

“Honestly our reaction is disappointment,” said Renee Duxler, a board member for the Douglas Design District. “This is a project that’s been on the sip for-since 2009 and is kind of continually seen a couple delays already.”

The projects that will be impacted haven’t been identified yet, but there could be several. 

“You know, maybe the convention center some of those big projects that will put a bit of a strain on our operating budget,” said Clendenin.

The next step for city council is going back to the drawing board. 

“They’ve now set up a decision-making process that’ll help establish priorities for our capital projects,” said Robert Layton, city manager for the city of Wichita.

The three phases together total $7 million. However, so far, this is just a proposal.

The city council will vote on phase one in August when they approve the budget.

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