WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Investigators for the Wichita Police Department will be the first to say there are drug-fueled homicides in Wichita.
Homicide investigators have been putting in many long hours in recent months to clear all kinds of homicides.
The Special Investigations Bureau is doing its part by taking drugs off the streets.
“Oh, it’s always busy. We could put to work twice the people we have now and they would be busy,” said WPD Captain Jeff Allen in charge of Special Investigations.
In 2019, they seized more than 145 pounds of meth and 166 pounds of weed. They also seized a lot of heroin, cocaine and pills of all kinds.
There has been an emphasis on the South and North corridors of Broadway but the team goes all over the city to find drugs. They have an emphasis on taking down drug dealers.
“We will keep fighting,” said Allen. “We took another 77 guns off the street with this unit.”
On the front lines of the drug war in Wichita is officer Vincent Reel. On Friday, he teamed with officer Natalie Daemen.
“Let’s check this out,” said officer Daemen on North Broadway. “We know him. He has a history of violence and drug use.”
The pair stopped a man crawling along the wall of a Wichita restaurant with a yellow long gun.
“So, turns out, this is a salt gun,” said officer Reel. But they stopped the man and talked to him.
It’s the talk on the streets, they say, that leads to intelligence that leads to drug dealers.
“That’s one of the reasons we sign up for this job is to help people with the drug addictions,” said officer Reel. “Kind of go after the dealers, keep them from selling to these people.”
Captain Allen says the team effort also helps keep some people from turning to violent crime to fuel their drug habit.
Captain Allen says it’s too easy for someone to turn to crime to get money for drugs. And that, at times, can turn violent up to and including homicide.
“The team in 2019, they closed out 374 individual complaints. Those were complaints from citizens or other people in the community, businesses that have called in,” said Captain Allen. “This team of officers goes out there and they actively investigate those.”
Captain Allen says Crime Stoppers works. He encourages anyone with knowledge of a drug crime or a suspect drug house to call.
“You want to help them. I think the biggest challenge is probably the addiction, so we keep doing what we do,” said officer Reel. “A lot of the drugs out there you have such a strong addiction to it. You wish they didn’t have that addiction and you see it ruin their lives.”
Special Investigations also teams with KBI, FBI, Homeland Security, the Sheriff’s Office and others.
“It’s a team effort,” said Captain Allen. “Long after I am gone someone else will be fighting this fight. We had a good year in (drug) seizures. We will continue.”
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