Joint civic and business groups offer recommendations for better policing and public safety

 

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The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners was among the groups discussed in the recommendations. // Image courtesy of Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City released three recommendations regarding the current state of the KCPD and public safety July 14 via a Zoom news conference.

Over the course of multiple months, both organizations conducted meetings with various community groups, local law enforcement, members of the KCMO Board of Police Commissioners, and police oversight organizations, as well as conducting research into police reform actions of peer cities. The groups’ goal was to study how the KCPD’s policies, procedures, and governance can build trust within the community without compromising the safety of Kansas-Citians.

These are their recommendations:

1. Investigation of police department personnel should be independent of the Kansas City Police Department for all cases of excessive use of force and all complaints brought by the public.

2. The city and board of police commissioners should engage in dialogue—rather than litigation—to find common ground regarding the department’s current budget and other contentious issues.

3. As vacancies on the Board of Police Commissioners occur, we encourage the appointment of new members who reflect the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of the community KCPD serves.

“The KC Chamber and Civic Council recognize that their work on these issues will continue beyond making these recommendations,” a joint statement says. “We pledge to work with other stakeholders on these and related public safety issues which are still to be addressed, including local control and diversity within the department.” 

The news comes following a contentious few months in which the Board of Police Commissioners voted to sue the Mayor’s office in response to the mayor’s decision to reallocate funds to community efforts.

These recommendations come as a concerted effort by city officials to help the police force and community leaders find common ground to continue an ongoing dialogue to ensure the safety of the public without sacrificing the safety of those who are tasked with protecting it.

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