Kansas City police leaders disagree on how to stop increasing bloodshed

Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 20:14:00-05

After a violent rolling gun battle that spanned eight square blocks, wounding seven people, Kansas City police are continuing to address the city's spike in violent crime. However, strategy on how to decrease the bloodshed differs depending on whom you talk to. 

Gregory and Prospect was near the epicenter of a lengthy shootout shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.

"It literally sounded like there was a war going on out here," said Jimmy Bright, a neighbor. "It was crazy ... It was the OK Corral."

The gunfight caused three car accidents and resulted in four crime scenes ranging from 70th and 72nd to Prospect and Brooklyn. Not only were homes riddled with bullets, but also cars, including Charles McCray's. 

"Something's gotta be done," said McCray. 

Another Monday homicide near Indiana and 39th pushes Kansas City closer towards record numbers for violent crime. Why? According to the Kansas City Fraternal Order Of Police, there are not enough officers patrolling the streets. 

Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon put out a Facebook post Sunday afternoon saying, "Staffing, manpower, promotions have all led to risks to our membership ... something must change."

41 Action News met with Lemon on Tuesday to get more insight on his thoughts. 

"At some point we have to figure out that we don't have enough police officers," he said. "Looking back at staffing even over the last five years we're down 70 to 80 police officers."

During Sunday's gun battle, KCPD did ask for backup from other departments. Eight agencies responded, including Leawood, Prairie Village and Raytown. 

KCPD Police Chief Darryl Forte commended all officers who helped with the dangerous situation without hesitation in his Monday blog post. Forte said in order for violence in Kansas City to stop, the community needs to help intervene. 

The post reads in part, "This altercation didn't arise from nowhere. Someone knew a dispute was brewing, and they didn't tell us … Police alone cannot stop this violence." 

But Lemon said police can't rely on the community and that officers need to be proactive. 

"The problem is the people who are doing the crime in this city and doing the things that happened Saturday night aren't sitting down and reading blogs. And they're not sitting down and watching the news and they're not going to call the police," he said. "Now we're losing police officers and but we're gaining in command positions. That can't happen."

KCPD said Forte was unavailable for comment Tuesday. They have not yet made any arrests regarding Sunday's shoot out and are still investigating.



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