This article was originally published by KNSS on May 9, 2018

Local coalition suggesting sales tax for police, firefighters: Group says crime numbers are increasing in Wichita



A group made up of Wichita police, firefighters, and local business leaders is looking to get people to vote on a quarter percent sales tax on the November ballot. They say as the population increases so have crime rates. KSN News spoke with Jason Van Sickle, of the Wichita Downtown Neighborhood Alliance.

"Last year the number was 38 people died in the city at the hands of somebody else," said Van Sickle. "That doesn't take into consideration attempted homicide, but this year we are on pace for 1 a week."

And with crime on the rise there has been a decrease in police and firefighter positions. KSN News spoke with Wichita Fraternal Order of Police president Robert Schmeidler.

"We're about to boil over, as far as it goes with personnel," said Schmeidler. "We've reached max capacity on being able to handle calls with the number of people we have."

The group says the quarter percent sales tax increase would raise 20 million dollars for more police and fire manpower resources. The coalition is working on putting together a detailed proposal over the next 30 days so that they can present it to city council. Their goal is to have residents vote on this in November.