Security Costs

By: Shelley Hansel
By: Shelley Hansel

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As we head into Memorial Day weekend, the country is back to an orange or ''high'' security alert.

Every time that happens, cities including Wichita put their homeland security plans into action. That costs money.

A recent study by the U.S. Conference Of Mayors found that American cities overall spend about $70 million per week on additional homeland security measures.

More surveillance cameras and blocked entrances at city hall are some of the increased security measures you can see.

It's what you can't see that makes it hard for city and county officials to put a dollar figure on what they're spending to keep our community safe.

Sedgwick County Emergency Management Director Randy Duncan says, "I think that we're taking actions that are exactly appropriate to the level of threat that we are facing. I don't think we're overreacting. I don't think we're under reacting."

Randy Duncan says when the threat level went from yellow to orange this week, the decision was made to increase awareness which doesn't come at too much added expense.

Wichita Safety & Security Manager Ernie Garcia says, "It is costing, it is a cost that we have to ensure this is a safe community."

Garcia says it's hard to say what Wichita and Sedgwick County spend every week on increased security measures, but he says we're pretty comparable to cities around us.

According to the Conference Of Mayors survey, Kansas City spends about $100,000 per week. Topeka spends about $60,000 and Overland Park reported about $20,000 in added security expenses.

Bigger cities like New York City and Los Angeles are spending in the millions.

Garcia also says it's hard to put a price tag on the increased working relationship between the city and the county. They're working together to make sure the entire community is safe.

City and County officials say the money to pay for the extra security measures comes out of each agency's budget.

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