Surveillance cameras will provide another set of eyes in Old Town

Old Town surveillance system (KSN file photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department will now have more eyes throughout the Old Town area.

Today, city officials gathered to announce that 12 new surveillance cameras are now live and online downtown.

In February, the Wichita City Council voted to approve the security upgrades, at a cost of $750,000.

The plan is to put 70 hi-definition cameras in place, as part of the second phase in the project, which will wrap up at the end of the Summer.

Wesley Wallace is a Manager at Heroes Sports Bar and Grill.

Wallace takes safety and security seriously and says they have upwards of 30 cameras inside and outside of his business.

He was excited to hear that even more cameras will now be carefully watching over the area.

“The fact they already have 12 out of 70, that’s great, it’s a great step in making it a safer place down here in Old Town,” said Wallace.

City officials walked KSN through their surveillance command center.

Wichita Police Officer Teddy Wisely has helped oversee the project.

He says any of the 12 operational cameras and the ones that come online later can be viewed from any of the computers in the command center, or even remotely.

“As more come online, I believe the minimum requirement will be 30 days of storage, at that time we have it set, it will automatically override, so that we can utilize that storage space for new footage,” said Ofc. Wisely.

City officials say crime in Old Town isn’t a problem, but at times they have had a spike in events.

It’s something they say these cameras have proven to deter in other city’s and hope it will do the same here.

“These cameras will provide another set of eyes, a number of eyes, in Old Town to monitor activity in the area down there,” said Janet Miller, Wichita City Councilwoman.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay spoke says a lot of work went into making this all happen.

Ramsay says these cameras will not only serve as a security tool, but also as an economic development tool.

“My past experience with street cameras is that communities often fight for where the next one is going to go, because they have success in reducing crime,” said Chief Ramsay.

The plan will also allow for businesses who get their own cameras to hook up to the feed, and choose what cameras they allow the police to watch.

It’s something Wallace said he’d consider.

“As long as it helps them out, and we kind of work together as a team like that, anything that helps them, helps us, see no problem with that,” said Wallace.

City officials say the cameras will be recording around the clock, but won’t necessarily have someone in the command center viewing them at all times.

However, they say with just two clicks of mouse, they are able to go back through days worth of footage.