In this months-long investigation into Sedwick County EMS – the lone ambulance provider for more than half a million people – reporters at The Wichita Eagle uncovered a public safety crisis that put an entire community at risk. Through open records, leaked documents, interviews, and direct research, the reporters built a database of response times, and direct testimony to back it up, that showed the department had dangerously slow response times and staffing shortages driven by mismanagement. While under the EMS director’s leadership, the department had fallen from one of the best in the Midwest to one that showed up late for over 11,000 potentially fatal emergency calls in two years. The series led to the prompt ousting of the EMS director, an apology by the county manager for his slow response to the crisis, and most importantly – a massive overhaul of the county’s EMS service. 

Read the reporting (PDF)

Wires and Fires

Electrical fires are often treated as accidents in Milwaukee, but an investigation by reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that they are actually foreseeable tragedies that hit Black renters by far the hardest, with the government doing little to fix the problem. As part of their reporting, the team hired a master electrician to inspect a random selection of homes in Milwaukee’s hardest-hit area, which found that 80% of single and two-family rental properties in the study area had serious electrical problems. The investigation prompted an immediate outcry by leaders in state government and prompted city officials to reexamine and potentially restore an inspection program previously mothballed by state lawmakers. The city is also launching a tenant education program around the issue of electrical safety and is examining potential requirements for city agencies to better document electrical fires.