Surveillance Increased at Wichita's River Festival

Undercover, surveillance officers, plus broad use of technology planned for festival to protect from terror, gangs, violence


Wichita police will have a second level of security during this year's River Festival, with undercover and surveillance officers backing up dozens of uniformed officers on the streets.

Deputy Chief Tom Stolz said as many as 50 uniformed officers will attend some of the "signature" events, such as the fireworks display on the last night of the Festival. Officers will be present at every festival event.

Stolz said the second security layer, which will not be seen by the public, was put in place to watch for everything from terrorists to violent gang members.

"Every night of River Festival there will be a security presence," Stolz said. "I assure you every resource -- from the helicopter down to every last pair of binoculars -- will be used.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to make this a safe event."

Stolz said the department's Special Community Action Team, its SWAT team and its bomb squad will be available to back up officers if needed. He said the uniformed police will include on-duty officers and off-duty officers working part-time for the River Festival.

Stolz said undercover officers will work among the crowds, while surveillance officers will monitor events from set locations.

"There are going to be a lot of cops at this event," he said.