WICHITA, Kan. The Wichita Police Department and the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from other local agencies, will be out to keep everyone safe through the weekend as fans converge on downtown Wichita for NCAA basketball tournament action at Intrust Bank Arena.
By Thursday, thousands will be downtown and dozens of officers will be looking out for everyone downtown for a good time of fellowship, food and basketball.
"(We're) excited Wichita was chosen, and knowing this, we've been preparing for months," Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Troy Livingston says of NCAA Tournament games coming to Intrust Bank Arena.
In all, police expect 15,000 to 25,000 people in the area for games and events.
"We understand this brings an increase of people to the core area and around the area as wee. And this poses some traffic and safety concerns," Livingston says.
That's why police will divide officers into four zones, starting when teams and their fans arrive. The enforcement includes 30 officers for a shift starting in the morning and 40 in a second shift. Evening officers will keep patrol in the area until about 2 or 3 a.m.
"You'll see officers assigned to two different shifts," Livingston says. "Officers will be in the area on foot, bicycle, vehicle, horseback and even ATV. All those officers will be providing information to provide citizens going to the games."
Old Town bars like Heroes also plan to have security in place.
"(Security) will be here from the moment we open until the moment we close. We don't expect any problems whatsoever, just here to check ID's, make sure it's a safe environment for any families that may come in," says Heroes manager Austin Vanpielt.