WPD plans to install surveillance cameras throughout Old Town

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The Wichita City Council makes a decision involving safety in old town. City council members approved several ordinance changes for Old Town, including setting fines for bar overcrowding and requiring music to end by 1:30am.

Deputy Chief Jose Salcido calls these "minor changes", and says there's more to come, including installing 50 surveillance cameras throughout Old Town.

"Pictures don't lie. There's no he said she said...it's there," said Roger Kincaid, who's in favor of the cameras.

Salcido says the cameras will have the ability to tilt, pan and zoom. Wichita Police will be able to watch every minute in real-time from just a mile away at City Hall.

"The benefit to that system is that we can do a private/public partnership, and we can actually bring video feeds in if we engage businesses throughout the city," said Salcido.

The goal is to install the cameras by spring. It's a first for Wichita, but Salcido says Detroit Police launched a similar program last year called "Project Green Light." That project is described as a partnership with eight gas stations that have installed real-time camera connections with police headquarters.

Wichita Police have increased patrol in Old Town over the past year. Salcido says that extra attention on the area actually increased response times to other parts of town. He says adding the cameras will make it easier to free up resources, and will improve overall safety in Old Town.

"I think anything that the city can do to make people feel more comfortable to come downtown and take advantage of all these great stores and restaurants is a good idea," said Carrie Heiman, a Wichita resident in favor of the cameras.

There are a few privately owned cameras in Old Town that police have access to right now. Salcido says the new cameras will not be located as high as those cameras. They will be visible to the public.

We asked police how much the cameras will cost and who will pay for them. We are still working to get that information.