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Gov. Parson, Mayor Lucas work with other state leaders on action plan to combat violent crime

Posted at 9:23 PM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 23:47:21-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas met with Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and other mayors less than 24 hours after a deadly triple shooting in Kansas City, Missouri, to discuss the problems of violence in several cities in the state and ways they could work together to solve them.

The closed-door meeting took place Friday morning in Springfield, Missouri, and included Lucas, Parson, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Springfield Mayor Ken McClure and select support staff, all of whom identified gun violence as the top concern related to violent crime.

"This is an epidemic," Lucas said. We are "working on things like witness protection programs and how we adequately fund them. Making sure we are really trying to build mental health resources."

State and city leaders agreed to work together on five action items to combat the rising tide of violent crime:

  1. Share information, develop strategies and advocate with a common voice;
  2. Seek increased community mental health and substance abuse funding for victims and offenders;
  3. Develop steps to process violent offenders more quickly through the criminal justice system to remove them from our communities;
  4. Support clarifying statutory language to keep firearms out of the hands of children, except for hunting purposes, and violent offenders;
  5. Enhance Missouri’s witness protection program.

"The witness protection program does exist in Missouri right now, but only gets $10,000 a year from the state," Lucas said. "And I'll say that again — $10,000."

The program is available at a prosecutor's or police officer's request.

Lucas said it is important to find funding for the program, because sometimes "as soon as people see you talking to police, it can create a problem."