Politics & Government

Wichita approves new $7 million police station to replace dumpy eastside facility

City of Wichita drawing

A new $7 million police station to serve east Wichita got the go-ahead from the City Council Tuesday.

The new station will be just north of the current aging and undersized east substation, which was designed as a base for about 30 officers but now has more than 100.

“This building will modernize operations and create a welcoming and professional community center facility,” Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said. “I know this building will make us more effective, efficient and operationally superior.”

In addition to being too small, the old substation lacks the computer support needed for modern police work, he said.

There are way too many officers for the locker and rest room facilities and the showers are practically unusable. Officers have to go home and change if they get blood or other bodily fluids on their uniform when responding to emergency calls, Ramsay said.

“Our police officers have one of the toughest jobs and I think it’s important to us to welcome them to a workplace with a nice facility that meets the needs of a 21st Century police department, and send them out the door and start their shift with a smile on their face,” Ramsay said.

The current station and the new one will sit side by side in Cypress Park at 350 S. Edgemoor, just north of Kellogg.

No one from the neighborhood spoke to the council at Tuesday’s meeting.

Ramsay said police contacted neighbors and all but a couple favored the project.

City Council member Brandon Johnson said he also heard few complaints.

“This seems to be favorable for the neighbors and the community,” he said. “This is a much-needed upgrade.”

The new station was originally planned for parkland at Central and Greenwich.

But the department shifted the proposal to build next to the current substation to save money, Ramsay said.

Just relocating the gas pumps that fuel the patrol cars would have added $250,000 to the project, he said.

The old station will be converted into a meeting space for police and community groups, alleviating the need for a separate community room in the new building, Ramsay said.

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Senior Journalist Dion Lefler has been providing award-winning coverage of local government, politics and business in Wichita for 20 years. Dion hails from Los Angeles, where he worked for the LA Daily News, the Pasadena Star-News and other papers. He’s a father of twins, director of lay servant ministries in the United Methodist Church and plays second base for the Old Cowtown vintage baseball team.