By Emily Younger
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita bar owner has hired armed security guards to work during peak hours.
There’s a new vibe at Heroes in Old Town. The once chill spot appears to be more lively than ever. It’s something new owner Adam Alkasasy said he is proud of.
“Friday and Saturdays get very busy. It makes me feel good, makes me feel like this is the old Heroes, the Heroes that it used to be,” said Alkasasy.
Alkasasy took over ownership of Heroes in August. Since then, he said he and his team have been working to revitalize the decades-old bar and turn it into a hot spot for Wichitans.
“Anybody coming to have fun are welcome because this place is made up for fun, only. That’s it,” he said.
Alkasasy has also hired armed security guards to work at Heroes during the peak hours of the weekends. In addition to being armed, the security guards wand customers as they enter the establishment.
“It’s just for safety. Stand by the door, check out any weapons because we don’t allow any knives or guns,” he said. “Our reason is to make people safe and happy. That’s it. It’s not to scare somebody.”
Alkasasy said the extra security measures are put in place to keep patrons safe. He said the more safety precautions, the better.
“Give them a message that this is a safe place to hang out,” he said.
However, not everyone is keen on the idea of armed security guards at establishments in Old Town. One Old Town bar manager told KSN their bar would never considering hiring armed security.
“We feel it could potentially make customers fearful of the establishment,” said the bar manager.
Jason Van Sickle with the Old Town Association said he’s been impressed by Wichita polices’ additional security measures.
“With the police department’s new camera system, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to get away with committing a crime in Old Town,” said Old Town Association President Jason Van Sickle.
In recent months, the City of Wichita has installed more than a dozen surveillance cameras in the area. They have also put in additional lighting, added traffic measures during busy times as well as increased patrols.
“With the increased police presence and all of the things we have done to make Old Town safer and more fun, we have had a really great summer where we haven’t seen any incidents and everybody is having a great time,” Sickle said.
Van Sickle would not comment directly on the armed security guards at Heroes. Instead, he said it is up to each bar owner how they want to handle security at their establishments.
“I think that every bar and restaurant needs to make their own choice for what’s best for them and the clientele that they serve,” he said.
Alkasasy said ultimately the armed security guards are not there to scare any customers. He said they are there to make sure the bar atmosphere is safe and secure at all times.
“I want to make it, so when you come in you see Heroes, food, fun, sports and put two lines under fun,” Alkasasy said.