The Wichita Eagle

By Amy Renee Leiker

Halstead’s former police chief entered a no contest plea Tuesday afternoon to two misdemeanors involving the theft of ammunition from the city.

Steven C. Lewis was sentenced to 60 days in jail on each count, to run concurrently, said Harvey County Attorney David Yoder. But the judge suspended the term and let him go free after Lewis agreed to pay $1,255 in restitution to the City of Halstead and $230 in court costs, follow all laws and surrender his law enforcement certification to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officer’s Standards and Training.

The sentence follows the terms attorneys negotiated for Lewis in his plea agreement. In exchange, Yoder dismissed a felony charge alleging Lewis misused public funds in 2011.

“The City of Halstead is officially glad to have this part of the investigation involving their community resolved and behind them,” Yoder said after the plea hearing.

Lewis’ defense attorney said the former chief entered the no-contest plea to “quickly resolve this case.”

“After 37, almost 38, years as a law enforcement officer, it is unfortunate that Mr. Lewis’ career concluded in this fashion,” Sal Intagliata said. But, he said, Lewis “didn’t want continued media coverage on him and his family because it was affecting them both. So he thought this was … the most appropriate way to resolve this.”

Lewis was arrested and booked on a warrant in August.

The charges against him arose after a KBI investigation found that Lewis endorsed and deposited into his personal bank account checks meant to reimburse the City of Halstead for ammunition he ordered for private individuals in 2012 and 2013. As police chief, Lewis was responsible for ordering ammunition for the police department.

Halstead’s former city administrator, James R. Hatfield, also is facing a felony charge of perjury associated with Lewis and a KBI investigation. He’s accused of failing to disclose to Kansas CPOST the reason for Lewis’ retirement from the department.

Hatfield is due in court for a preliminary hearing on March 23, Yoder said. If convicted, he could face five to 17 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

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By John Asebes

New memos put out by the Department of Homeland Security aim to place a higher emphasis on stopping illegal immigration, still prioritizing the deportation of criminal illegal immigrants.

“The new policies greatly expand the targets of immigration enforcement,” says Attorney Dan Monnat.

KSN spoke with attorney Dan Monnat, who says fast track deportation was typically sought for undocumented illegal immigrants within 100 miles of a border and in the U.S. less than 14 days. He says this memo goes beyond that.

“A federal agent can seek fast track deportation of any undocumented immigrant in the U.S. anywhere who has been here less than two years. Obviously to achieve all this more money and police power is required,” says Monnat.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter is anxious to hear how these memos could impact his staff.

“We are not able to enforce immigration laws.”

He says, right now, if his deputies pull a car over and find out there are undocumented immigrants inside they call ICE. If those individuals aren’t known felons or suspected of criminal behavior, they are usually let go.

But one of the memos appears to allow local law enforcement to be made immigration officers.

Easter says he’s had no communication from the feds about this change and he’s hoping to get some clarification.

“If there is a change that comes from this particular presidency where there is some laws that are going to be passed to have us enforce immigration law then we will follow the law,” says Easter.

For those that work to protect immigrants there’s worry right now. But there is also being an effort made to better understand what the memos mean.

“Loss of hope and desire to fight back and protect the family is our nature,” says Guadalupe Magdeleno.

Also included in the memo is the DHS’s plan to hire thousands more ICE and border patrol agents and efforts to begin building a border wall.

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WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday to approve security upgrades in the Old Town area. The city plans to add up to 70 high-definition cameras. The cost of the security upgrades is $750,000.

Wichita Deputy Police Chief Jose Salcido said the project was started with three goals in mind: crime prevention, crime solving, and prosecution.

Deputy Salcido cited a study that found a 51 percent reduction in parking lot crime. The cameras would be used for video forensics, catching a criminal in the act, or identifying a suspect.

Police will be able to live stream the feed in a command center downtown.

“You here that people don’t come downtown because they don’t feel safe,” says Gina Buster.

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. Meads Corner general manager, Gina Buster, says more cameras downtown is a big benefit for employee safety.

“Knowing that they have not just us and our security system but they city as well,” says Buster.

But also for people like Amy and Krystal, who sometimes walk down to get their coffee and have sometimes felt a little uneasy walking at night.

“If I came down here or maybe by myself with a friend then I would feel more secure walking around and doing stuff,” says Krystal McMillan.

But where do you draw the line on too much surveillance?

“How can it be private if it is in a public place?”

KSN legal analyst, Dan Monnat, says the camera’s and surveillance are within the legal limits of privacy.

“I don’t think 70 cameras in a public place push the limits of privacy any more than 70 law enforcement officers in a public place,” says Monnat.

So what business will be first in allowing police access to camera’s inside and outside?

“We will talk about that and see if it is something that is in our best interest to do,” says Buster.

Deputy Salcido told the city council that several officers would be trained to monitor the cameras from the command center.

“We would have an officer or two watching the cameras that could see a disturbance. Rather than wait for a bystander to pick up the phone, we don’t have to wait for the incident to get to this point, we can intervene when it is starting.”

The project would be completed  by June 2017.

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