WPD Deputy Chief says officer shortage isn't affecting public safety

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Wichita Police say a shortage of officers isn't as bad as one of its captains claims. In a story we first told you about Thursday, a police captain outlined in an email what appears to be a dire situation at his east bureau. 

In the email, obtained by KAKE News, patrol east Captain Kevin Mears, stated his bureau is so short staffed, at times, people are waiting up to two hours for an officer to show up to a call. and some cops are pulling double duty.

After our story aired Thursday, Wichita Deputy Chief Troy Livingston, called a news conference to address the email. 

"The email said that the department may have been neglected and I adamantly disagree with that, all right?" Livingston said.

Livingston admits, wait times can be long, but it's rare. 

"That two hour response time is not the norm," Livingston said. "We go to emergencies first. We don't like it if it takes us two hours to get to a report call."

The police department is reorganizing. 20 officers will be pulled from the substations to create a specialized traffic unit starting this weekend, and 22 officers will be reassigned to a violent crime unit -- meaning there will be even fewer cops on patrol. 

"The captains have been directed to manage this," Livingston said. "And we've been doing this for years, they've been directed that if they see they're going to be shorthanded they contact the other bureaus and get some resources shifted to that bureau."

Mear's email said patrol east is short 28 officers, but Livingston claims that's not the case. 

 "I don't think that email accurately reflected what's truly going on in the department," he said.

Mears called the depletion of his staff "terrible" and says the shortfalls will likely last ten more months.

30 recruits are about to go through the police academy in January, but they won't go to the streets until September.

  • NEWSNewsMore>>

  • The Latest: 300 mourn victims outside tourism boat business

    The Latest: 300 mourn victims outside tourism boat business

    Friday, July 20 2018 1:36 AM EDT2018-07-20 05:36:01 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 12:24 AM EDT2018-07-21 04:24:13 GMT
    (Andrew Jansen/The Springfield News-Leader via AP). Rescue crews work at the scene of a deadly boat accident at Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., Thursday, July 19, 2018. A sheriff in Missouri said a tourist boat has apparently capsized on the lake, lea...(Andrew Jansen/The Springfield News-Leader via AP). Rescue crews work at the scene of a deadly boat accident at Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., Thursday, July 19, 2018. A sheriff in Missouri said a tourist boat has apparently capsized on the lake, lea...
    A Missouri sheriff says at least 11 people have now been confirmed dead after a boat carrying tourists on a lake in a popular vacation city capsized and sank.
    A Missouri sheriff says at least 11 people have now been confirmed dead after a boat carrying tourists on a lake in a popular vacation city capsized and sank.
  • DA: No charges in death of 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez

    DA: No charges in death of 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez

    Friday, June 8 2018 6:28 PM EDT2018-06-08 22:28:48 GMT

    The last page of a report provided to the media says, "In light of the death of the sole suspect in the death of Lucas Hernandez, no charges will be filed concerning his death in February of 2018."

    The last page of a report provided to the media says, "In light of the death of the sole suspect in the death of Lucas Hernandez, no charges will be filed concerning his death in February of 2018."

  • Wichita woman among 3 killed in Utah motorcycle crash

    Wichita woman among 3 killed in Utah motorcycle crash

    KTVXKTVX

    One of the victims was identified as 53-year-old Judith Murray of Wichita. She was riding a motorcycle driven by 50-year-old Jason Murray.

    One of the victims was identified as 53-year-old Judith Murray of Wichita. She was riding a motorcycle driven by 50-year-old Jason Murray.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE

<'>