KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, Board of Police Commissioners has requested that Mayor Quinton Lucas withdraw ordinances that reallocate $42 million from the police department.
Bishop Mark Tolbert, BOPC president, said in a statement released Friday that the “unexpected” budget change could disrupt services, and if Lucas doesn’t withdraw the measures, the board “will be forced to continue pursuing injunctive relief.”
“The Board of Police Commissioners stands ready to negotiate next year’s budget, and we hope to continue dialogue with the Mayor, the City Council and other stakeholders,” Tolbert said in the statement. “Our goal is to work together to strengthen and improve the services we provide to the diverse population of Kansas City, Missouri."
The board filed suit on Friday against Lucas and the city after the city council approved Monday, in 9-4 votes, ordinances that shift more than $40 million from KCPD to create a community services and prevention fund.
The lawsuit alleges that the measures defund police and “hinder and obstruct” the BOPC’s oversight of the department.
Details have not yet been finalized regarding the fund.
KCPD Chief Rick Smith said in a letter to City Manager Brian Platt that the lack of details for that fund is “of particular concern given the known advocacy by some to defund the police department by the full re-allocated amount.”
“The ordinances’ language infers that the police department does not currently engage in or strive to build positive relationships with the community,” Smith wrote. “On the contrary, the police department has many programs geared toward fostering positive community interactions.”
Smith noted the department’s Police Athletic League, the D.A.R.E. program and that all patrol divisions employ two community interaction officers and a social worker.
He also said the ordinances will have a “draconian impact” on the Kansas City community.
“This department and our community cannot bear such a burden,” Smith wrote. “The members of this department respond to hundreds of thousands of calls a year where they simply help people.”