Wichita Police Department

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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has ordered a review of the state's Amber Alert system, after cell phone alerts failed following a kidnapping in Wichita Monday.

Schmidt has asked for a complete review of the program and a report no later than January 31, 2017.  

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

On Tuesday, leaders from south-central Kansas’ law enforcement agencies gathered in Wichita to participate in a seminar that focused on hiring practices to help increase diversity.

The U.S. Justice Department sponsored the seminar, calling it a “Diversity Dialogue.”

The agency’s research found that people in underrepresented communities often have a lack of trust in law enforcement and don’t know about police career opportunities.

Those factors, and others, become barriers to police recruiting and hiring efforts.

Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County / Facebook

A Sedgwick County organization that helps law enforcement agencies solve crimes is in need of a helping hand. Donations to Crime Stoppers have hit an all-time low.

It’s been a tough few years for the Wichita-Sedgwick County Crime Stoppers organization when it comes to financial support.

The nonprofit is funded solely by donations from individuals and corporations, and there’s not a lot of money coming in these days. Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest in felony crimes.

Wichita Police Department

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 22: Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett has filed charges against a Dallas woman accused of killing a Wichita woman and stealing her newborn daughter.

Bennett said in a statement Tuesday that the official charges against 34-year-old Yesenia Sesmas won't be made public until her first court appearance. Sesmas is being held in Texas on suspicion of first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection to the death of Laura Abarca-Nogueda and the kidnapping of her 6-day-old baby, Sophia Gonzales.

Bennett says the state intends to pursue extradition from Dallas, but that process that could take up to 90 days. A court date for Sesmas has not been set.

Sesmas reportedly told a Dallas TV station that 27-year-old Abarca-Nogueda had agreed to turn over her newborn daughter, but backed out on the agreement. In an interview at the Dallas County Jail, the 34-year-old woman admitted that she killed Abarca-Nogueda in Wichita but said she didn't mean to. 

Updated 9:15 a.m., Nov. 19, 2016: An infant missing from Wichita since Thursday afternoon has been found alive and healthy. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay held a press conference to announce that 8-day-old Sofia Gonzales was located at a residence in Dallas around 4:30 a.m. Saturday. Police say two suspects who knew the infant's mother were taken into custody. He declined to offer any other information citing the ongoing investigation. Chief Ramsay said the baby is in protective custody as the investigation continues.

Johnny / flickr Creative Commons

The Wichita Police Department is partnering with the Union Rescue Mission to deliver Thanksgiving meals to families in need.

Police officers will deliver boxes of food to 100 families around Wichita identified as being in need. The food—including turkey and fixings for Thanksgiving dinner--is collected by the Union Rescue Mission, an evangelical Christian ministry that provides shelter and other services to homeless men.

Ark Valley Fire Buff / Flickr

The Wichita Police Department says it’s going to increase its recruiting efforts as part of a recommendation made by an organizational assessment released last year.

The assessment from the Hugo Wall School at Wichita State University recommended the department focus on recruiting after it saw a decrease in applicants.

Speaking at the mayor's briefing Thursday, Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said he’d like to see candidates with experience in fields outside of law enforcement.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

A Wichita organization that offers a holiday assistance program for low-income people will be using a new distribution warehouse this year.

Inter-Faith Ministries searched for about six months for a new location for its Operation Holiday assistance program after the facility they used last year was sold.

Distribution of clothing, blankets and food will now take place at a warehouse at 2nd and Vine streets in downtown Wichita.

Inter-Faith Interim Executive Director Garland Egerton says Operation Holiday has helped low-income people for more than 50 years.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

A group of community and health leaders held a press conference Wednesday in Wichita to push for lawmakers to expand Kansas’ Medicaid system.

Many of the organizations participating in the meeting, which was hosted by Via Christi Health and held at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce in downtown Wichita, have already come out in support of expanding KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid system. Now, they say they need Kansas lawmakers to put the issue on the agenda for the 2017 legislative session.

Ark Valley Fire Buff / Flickr

The Wichita Police Department has received a federal grant from the Department of Justice to hire more community policing officers.

The community policing grant worth $875,000 will go toward hiring six new WPD officers and one supervisor.

Chief Gordon Ramsay says the officers will focus on problem locations along the Broadway corridor, particularly around motels and commercial areas there.

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