Some neighbors close to 9th and Hillside tell KSN News they are not happy there is ongoing Wichita Police Department and Sedgwick County officer training nearby.
However, other neighbor say they know officers have to train.
“I came out early today to see if there would be a lot of noise,” said Clark Shultz. “So far, I don’t know if they have started.”
WPD officials say that’s what they are going for. Training has already begun when Shultz talked to KSN on Monday afternoon.
Last year, there were noise complaints when officers trained at a house that was about to be removed and rebuilt. And there were complaints when officers went into the home to simulate different scenarios.
This year, WPD says it is communicating with the public the best they can, and they are inside almost exclusively.
“We started last week on Tuesday. The SWAT team was going around handing out letters,” explained Captain Jeff Weible with Wichita police. “Kind of explaining what our training is, about how we’re not using any live ammunition.”
WPD fired off a few rounds of blanks they will use in training and some simulated explosive rounds.
Since it’s all inside the building this year, it was difficult to hear on the sidewalk next to the building when they fired off inside rounds for the media to hear.
Still, some neighbors who live two blocks away feel communication should have been extended out to more neighbors.
“There was some notification in the neighborhood but not as much, not what I would have expected. I would have have expected a lot more information for the neighborhood,” said Clark Shulz. “But as a former soldier, it does my heart good to know they are training for the real deal. I support them.”
Captain Weible says they are taking several training elements and putting the officers through a lot of different scenarios from door-to-door searches inside, to traffic “felony” stops in the parking lot of the former Wichita Children’s Home.
“This is training bureau day one,” explained Captain Weible, who heads up the training bureau.
WPD wanted to do a refresher for all officers after some SWAT members attended a “train the trainer” set of scenarios from federal officers. This is a new, ground-up curriculum to train on active shooters as well as conduct building searches. The goal is to de-escalate situations before they can get out of hand.
Most of the neighbors had already seen the signs WPD put at both ends of the training facility.
“You will see activity at the Children’s Home as far as officers going in and out,” said Captain Weible. “We have officers set up for security and safety. No live rounds in the building at all. Blanks are a stimulus for the scenarios. They (public) should hear minimal noise if any at all.”
Even Captain Weible was checked for a live weapon before he was allowed into the facility.
“It’s secure. Nothing live inside the building at all,” said Captain Weible. “But we do have security officers surrounding the entrances and exits.”
Some neighbors say they will be watching to see if there is a lot of noise, though officials are confident noise will not be a factor in the residential area.
The biggest takeaway for WPD and sheriff’s officers is the live aspect of the training with blanks.
“Real life scenarios,” said Captain Weible. “And we are doing post analysis to see how the officers do. We know this (training) can save lives. It’s why we do it.”