Police officer shortage leads to longer 911 wait times in east Wichita

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It's taking police officers on Wichita's east side longer to respond to emergencies. The situation was outlined in an email sent to several neighborhood leaders. 

Wichita Police Captain Kevin Mears writes, the Patrol East Bureau is short 28 police officers, and 911 response time is as long as two hours, something he writes "unacceptable and must be addressed."

"I mean the murders last weekend unsolved, it's disturbing to think we have fewer police rather than increased police intensity especially around this time of year," resident James Smith said.

The police department failed to comment on our story, but in the email it says it will be looking at options to address the shortage, that Mears says stems from tighter budgets and officers on leave for various reasons.

"It's not good to see that there is a shortage of officers, but I believe in the officers of Wichita. But, I also believe in the people of Wichita, that they can behave as citizens and the officers will do their duty," resident Scott Slack said.

The city council approved hiring almost 50 new police officers over the next three years. A new class of officers will start training in January, but they won't hit the streets until September 2018. 

Police met Thursday afternoon to talk about this issue and figure out what they can do to fix it. KAKE News is supposed to hear more from them Friday.

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