Mayor Lucas announces redirection of KCPD funding toward community efforts

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New ordinances announced today by Mayor Quinton Lucas will redirect some of the funding the Kansas City Police Department typically receives toward community efforts. // Photo by Rich Sugg of The Kansas City Star

Mayor Quinton Lucas and local officials are combining efforts to hold Kansas City police financially accountable and redirect some of the funding they typically receive.

Lucas announced the introduction of new legislation that would decrease revenue toward the KCPD during a press conference today. Under the newly introduced ordinances, KCPD would receive 20% of the city’s general revenue, decreasing their typical allocation under the city’s budget by roughly 5%.

Per the new ordinances, the funding that normally would make up that 5% will be reallocated to a new Community Services and Prevention Fund. The ordinances also introduce an agreement between the City Manager and the Board of Police Commissioners to provide services in areas such as outreach, prevention, intervention, and community engagement.

Lucas called this new legislation a necessary means of taking steps toward preventing and intervening with violence in the city, which the KCPD plays a crucial role in. These ordinances are a way to engage with the KCPD and create “new solutions to a generational problem,” he says.

“Doing the same thing we’ve been doing for generations—blank checks to the Police Department that get larger and larger each year without a prevention focus—has sadly not worked for the thousands of Kansas City families impacted by violent crime,” Lucas says.  “We can’t just stand by a single day longer.”

Gwen Grant, President and CEO of Urban League of Kansas City, called these new initiatives a “refreshing change of course.”

“It is time that the KCPD be held to account for their inefficient and ineffective expenditures, which have failed to substantively address the proliferation of violent crime in our community,” Grant says.

Updated 8pm: In a 9-4 vote, the new ordinances have now already been passed by the Kansas City Council. Lucas originally said that these ordinances would be set for referral to a council committee for debate, but they were moved to same day introduction at tonight’s meeting.

Police chief Rick Smith was reportedly not aware of these new ordinances before today’s press conference and made the following statement this afternoon:

“I am disheartened Mayor Lucas and the other sponsoring council members did not reach out to the police department prior to today’s press conference to notify us of such a policy shift. As a member of the Board of Police Commissioners, the mayor meets monthly with other board members, department members and the public. At these meetings, we discuss performance and statistics from each bureau, including crime, budgets, policy and other matters. The mayor and the other sponsoring council members have not previously mentioned this proposal, so our discussions about it are just beginning.”

Categories: Politics