Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office honors fallen deputy, works to crack down on criminals' access to guns

WICHITA, Kan. One year after Sedgwick County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Kunze died in the line of duty, those who worked alongside him honor his memory and work to keep a similar situation from happening again.

The man who killed Kunze stole the gun he used from inside a vehicle. The crime happened exactly one year ago Monday (Sept. 16, 2019).

Sedgwick County Sheriff's Lt. Tim Myers spoke on the effort underway to crack down on criminals' access to guns. This involves work with people in the community to lessen opportunities for gun thefts.

"There's been more of an initiative with the City of Wichita, trying to get people not to have guns in their vehicles so they're not stolen from vehicles and then used in other crimes." Myers says.

Early indications are that the initiative is working.

"Numbers are down and I think that's part of because of that initiative and I think more people are becoming aware that leaving a gun in a vehicle when they're not in there is probably not the best idea," Myers says.

He says while having anything stolen from your vehicle can be a pain, cases involving stolen guns can lead to deadly crimes.

"When your purse is stolen, really other than the financial loss, you don't have anything that dangerous with that type of crime," Myers says. "When someone takes a gun out of your vehicle, they can commit all types of crimes, including homicide."

It's still too early to tell whether fewer gun thefts from vehicles is directly due to the push from law enforcement, but Myers does hope people are getting the point.

"Only time will tell,but I'm hoping we're going in the right direction," he says.