Report recommends more boots on the ground for KCPD

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - There were 54 violent crimes in Kansas City over the weekend. Those numbers have some people wondering if we need more police officers.

But, a newly released study says we have plenty of officers, they just need to be moved around.

The study recommends trimming management positions and reassigning some of those department employees to patrol positions.

Some people in Kansas City hope more patrol officers will help cut down violent crime.

Debra Reese says she’s felt safe in her Kansas City home her entire life, but recently that changed.

“Oh dear, since 1974 we’ve only had one murder on this block.. and that occurred just last month,” said Reese.

Last month, a man was shot and killed on East 71st Street near Cleveland Avenue. Neighbors are still in shock today.

“We’ve never had anything on this street like this,” said James Reed.

Reese wonders if more patrol officers on the streets would put an end to the violence and allow her and her family to feel safe.

“I think if you see a police car or patrol car… that might deter some criminal activity,” said Reese.

“That’s a big part of what the detectives are telling me they think is a lot of the responsibility for the uptick in the homicide rate is a lack of patrol officers on the street,” said former KCMO homicide detective David Bernard.

Bernard keeps in touch with those still working for the Kansas City Police Department.

“Patrol, the officers on the street…that is the backbone. Everything else is to support what they do,” said Bernard.

The recent independent staffing report states KCPD has more upper management than other cities that are the same size.

The recommendation is not to hire more officers, but to move those in higher up positions to patrol positions instead. Putting 37 more officers on the streets.

Bernard agrees with that logic, “They’re the first line of defense against crime… especially violent crime on the streets.”

Some people feel even additional officers out and about won’t stop the violence.

“It’s still going to be the same problem,” said Reed.

But concerned moms like Reese say at this point anything is worth a try.

“Crime is more prevalent. It’s not just happening in certain neighborhoods… it’s happening all over,” said Reese.

The report also recommends adding 4 more homicide detectives and 6 more assault detectives. 

KCPD and the police union say they plan to comment further on the report after it is presented to the board of police commissioners in August.

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