U.S. Attorney General stops in Wichita for talks about fighting crime

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Attorney General William Barr and Senator Jerry Moran leading a roundtable discussion on crimefighting partnerships. Attorney General William Barr and Senator Jerry Moran leading a roundtable discussion on crimefighting partnerships.
Attorney William Barr's motorcade as he arrived at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Training Center Wednesday afternoon. Attorney William Barr's motorcade as he arrived at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Training Center Wednesday afternoon.
Heavy security, in uniform and plains clothes, surrounded the attorney general as he stopped for a visit in Wichita. Heavy security, in uniform and plains clothes, surrounded the attorney general as he stopped for a visit in Wichita.
Dozens of protesters armed with signs and bullhorns greeted the attorney general as he arrived in Wichita. Dozens of protesters armed with signs and bullhorns greeted the attorney general as he arrived in Wichita.
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The Attorney General of the United States was in Wichita Wednesday afternoon.  William Barr came for a roundtable discussion with local law enforcement about how the Department of Justice can help local officers fight an uptick in crime.

"I wanted to come here because Kansas is one of the most successful examples of federal, state and local partnerships in the country," Barr told those gathered during prepared remarks at the beginning of the roundtable.

Barr said his visit to Wichita was the result of an invitation from Kansas Senator Jerry Moran a few weeks ago.

Barr told those gathered that while, in general, violent crime remains on a downward trend there are areas that are seeing an uptick and they're not always the areas you might think of.

"Not only in our big cities," Barr said.  "But we're also seeing crime in some rural areas start going up as some of the drug trafficking organizations are avoiding the enforcement regime of the bigger cities."

Senator Moran said the purpose of the round table discussion would be so he and the attorney general could get a better feel for what kind of help Kansas law agencies need in fighting that crime.

The senator also touted a new spending bill that will add dollars to grant programs that pay for things like bulletproof vests, substance abuse treatment programs, and, as in Sedgwick County, supporting a ballistics lab partnership to better match bullets to the guns that fired them.

"Every Republican, every Democrat voted in favor of it," Moran said about the bill that has passed out of committee and is waiting for a vote on the Senate floor.  ""It's an example of where, in today's diverse, challenging times that we still can come together. "

While those gathered for the discussion were eager to share their thoughts with the nation's top law enforcement officer, a couple dozen protesters outside were not happy to see Barr here.  Upset over the ongoing Ukraine phone call investigation and impeachment inquiry, they greeted the attorney general with signs calling him a traitor and saying he works for American taxpayers.

"He's doing things that are illegal and he's supposed to be heading our Justice Department and now it's the Department of Injustice," said Vicki Wagner.  "You can't ignore a subpoena.  He's telling people to ignore subpoenas and that's against the law."

"The injustice that William Barr represents," said Russ Pataky, explaining why he was protesting.  "He's more like Trump's personal enabler than any kind of Justice Department official I've ever seen. I didn't serve in the military, you know, for the kind of government we have right now."

Barr ignored the protesters as well as all questions from the media.  After the prepared remarks, the roundtable was closed to the public.

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