Crime & Courts

Wichita police may get a new $7 million Patrol East station to be built on park land

A look inside Wichita’s most crowded police station

(FILE VIDEO -- 2017) Wichita Police Department Capt. Kevin Mears takes us inside the East Patrol substation, which was designed for 30-40 officers but now houses 100-130 officers.
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(FILE VIDEO -- 2017) Wichita Police Department Capt. Kevin Mears takes us inside the East Patrol substation, which was designed for 30-40 officers but now houses 100-130 officers.

Wichita may build a new $7 million Patrol East police station on current park land if the City Council approves a plan at Tuesday’s meeting.

The new police station would replace the department’s oldest neighborhood substation, which has had issues with termites, a leaky roof, mold, air conditioning, heating, plumbing and electricity.

“The current space is inadequate,” Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said in a statement. “We want to provide space to make them more efficient and something they can take pride in and be proud of.

“Currently they package evidence at the same table they eat their meal at and most officers do not have a locker to store their items and keep their uniforms in. There is room for only a few officers to complete their reports at a time and too often officers are waiting around to complete their work. We are very excited to see a new police station for the east side of Wichita.”

The proposal the council will consider includes issuing $7 million in general obligation bonds already in the 10-year capital improvement plan to pay for the new police station. The station would be built on land that is now part of Cypress Park next to Patrol East’s current location at 350 S. Edgemoor, just north of Kellogg. The Park Board has already agreed to use the land for the building, according to city documents.

The station had originally been proposed for land near Central and Greenwich, where it would be built in conjunction with the proposed 14.4-acre Central and Bristol Park.

The Kellogg and Edgemoor spot has a central location in the east bureau’s patrol area, city documents state, and already has existing infrastructure.

The proposed site is immediately north of the current police station, which is adjacent to a fire station. A playground would be relocated to another area of the park. More than half of the park land would not be otherwise affected.

The Eagle reported in 2017 on issues at the Patrol East station:

  • It was built for 30-40 officers, but now houses 100-130.
  • Not enough secure parking for patrol cars and officers’ personal vehicles has led to vandalism.
  • Limited space means community policing officers and a team specializing in drug and gang crimes are housed in off-site rental offices.
  • There is only one holding cell, and no interview rooms for suspects, victims or witnesses.
  • There is no security barrier between the public entrance and restricted areas.
  • There aren’t enough lockers, and the ones they do have are too small to hold all the equipment officers now carry.

  • One toilet, two urinals and three showers lead to bathroom lines in the men’s locker room.
  • The shower water in the women’s locker room is brown due to old and rusty pipes.
  • At one point, bicycle patrol officers stored their bikes in a shower.

  • Electrical problems have led to officers needing a flashlight to use the bathroom.
  • Once, the middle of the squad room floor caved in, and officers marked it off with yellow crime-scene tape and held their meetings with chairs on the edges of the room.

The new 23,000-square-foot station would have more “functionalities” than other stations in Wichita. The current east substation is 4,500 square feet.

“Some of these features include private ‘soft’ interview space for children and abused individuals, a dedicated armory, enhanced evidence collection and storage space, increased holding areas, space for police personnel during shift change, storage for the increased equipment carried by officers, and more parking to alleviate patrol cars parking on neighborhood streets,” documents state.

The design for the station will be the base for other new stations in the future. The Patrol East station is the first of the four neighborhood stations that will be rebuilt over the next six years, police said.

Wichita police Sgt. Michael O'Brien said a 30-year-old man was shot at 21st North and Prince on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. He was shot while in a car in a parking lot just a few blocks from the Patrol North station and Wichita State University.

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