This article was originally published on on March 17, 2016

Wichita police stepping up presence in Old Town

by Brittany Glas and Avery Anderson

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay and Mayor Jeff Longwell discussed safety improvements for Old Town during Thursday morning’s Mayorwatch media briefing at Wichita’s City Hall.

“We are committed to help keep it safe,” said Mayor Longwell.

Chief Ramsay echoed the mayor.

“We are committed and determined to maintain and enhance safety in Old Town,” he said.

The chief is looking at adding additional lighting and cameras to the area as well as adding additional officers at closing time for bars. These are only a few of 21 recommendations Wichita Police has suggested Old Town bars implement to improve safety in the area.

Last week, Chief Ramsay announced he was putting together an action plan trying to tackle violence downtown.

The announcement came after a weekend shooting that left four people injured.

“We’re going to be very direct and decisive on dealing with these serious public safety issues when they come up. And we are committed and determined to maintain and enhance safety in Old Town,” he said.

The Old Town Association president, Jason Van Sickle, says he’s looking forward to continuing to work with the city and police to make positive changes.

“Starting last year, we started working with the police department and the City of Wichita to look at additional measures we could take to continue to ensure safety,” said Van Sickle.

KSN’s Brittany Glas asked Mayor Longwell Thursday about the estimated cost for the recommendations and how Wichita plans to pay for them, if the city council approves the measure.

“We’re trying to fit some of that in to the city’s budget,” the mayor explained.

Officials aren’t prepared to release the estimated cost of the recommendations at this time, but city leaders said they expect a formal recommendation to be presented before the city council in a matter of “weeks, not months.”

Thursday night, Wichita residents were enjoying the St. Patrick’s Day festivities while cheering on their favorite teams for March Madness. But, customers told KSN’s Avery Anderson that they felt a heavy presence in Old Town all throughout the night.

“When people realize that there’s security, there are enforcement officials, be it a bounce or enforcement officials they are going to obey. They’re going to realize that they can’t get away with it, and so yeah, I feel safer with it,” said Wichita resident, Forrist Shultz.