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KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas calls for changes in KCPD budget

Funding to be used in community services fund
Lucas Newser.jpg
Posted at 11:33 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 11:46:18-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas introduced two ordinances on Thursday which aim to "vastly increase accountability," in the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department.

Under the first proposed ordinance, the KCPD budget would be amended to 20% of the city's general revenue. Currently, the KCPD budget represents at least 25.8% of the city's general revenue.

This would change the department's budget by roughly $46 million.

"If you're following this is not defunding the police, what this is, is actually increasing accountability for the first time in 80 years," Lucas said during a press briefing Thursday.

Read Ordinance 1: Amending current year budget
Read Ordinance 2: Allocation of funding for Community Services and Prevention fund

The ordinances would also reallocate the previous funding for the department to a new community services and prevention fund among other things.

City Manager Brian Platt would work to negotiate a contract with the KCMO Board of Police Commissioners to create the Community Services and Prevention fund.

In their negotiations, the funding could not exceed $47 million, which is similar to the funding identified in the first ordinance.

Lucas said he hopes to see the community services and prevention fund used on things like violent crime prevention and intervention.

"What we're doing right now ain't working," Lucas said. "It's not just an answer enough to say 'get more law enforcement.' Last year during Operation LeGend, the federal government sent hundreds of federal agents to Kansas City and we still broke a homicide record."

Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief Rick Smith, who wrote in a blog post last Friday about the department's funding challenges, said in a statement Thursday afternoon that he was "disheartened" the mayor did not reach out to him prior to today's announcement.

“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," Smith said in the statement.

The chief added that because he only learned about the details on Thursday, further discussions are "just beginning."

The Kansas City, Missouri Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #99 also released a statement following the announcement.

"We are holding our comments until after the Chief Smith and the Board of Police Commissioners respond to the Mayor’s reckless actions regarding additional cuts to KCPD’s budget," the KCFOP said in the statement. "We do want to thank the 4 council members from District’s 1 and 2 who immediately held a news conference opposing the proposed ordinances. The executive board of the KCFOP is exploring all legal and legislative remedies while we wait to hear from those tasked with running KCPD and keeping the citizens safe."

The ordinances are also co-sponsored by several other KCMO city council members including Brandon Ellington, Melissa Robinson, Katheryn Shields, Eric Bunch, Lee Barnes Jr., Ryana Parks-Shaw, Andrea Bough and Kevin McManus.

None of the city's council representatives from the Northland are currently co-sponsoring the proposals.

The ordinances will be discussed at during a KCMO finance governance and public safety committee meeting next week.

The proposals fall inline with demands from KCMO social justice organizations who penned a letter to Lucas in April.

In the list of demands, the seven organizations called for Lucas to divest the KCPD budget to 20% of the city's general fund.