KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas says Kansas City will build a detention center without partnering with Jackson County.
Mayor Lucas sent the note in a letter via tweet early this morning.
A detention center that meets the needs of public safety, detainees, and provides justice for victims is a priority for Kansas City government, including providing mental health and social support services.— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) September 7, 2023
We will build outside of a partnership with Jackson County. My letter. pic.twitter.com/MK2HmRJXH6
The Mayor says a detention center that meets the needs of public safety, detainees, and provides justice for victims is a priority for Kansas City government, but the city won't partner with the county for several reasons.
First, Mayor Lucas says the city cannot accept the undetermined financial liability that the county requires.
Second, he says the city cannot accept the counties accelerated timeline, and third he cites the ongoing disagreements on what a joint facility will look like.
The city and county have previously discussed partnering for a joint facility.
Mayor Lucas added that he will recommend a group of city council members will have a plan on needs and asks of the public by January 2024.
Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. and Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte issued a joint statement Thursday afternoon about the city's decision:
"We acknowledge and respect the City of Kansas City’s decision to decline collaboration on a joint detention center project. Our owner’s representative, JCDC Partners, has been working diligently exploring this potential partnership since 2020, including conducting a report at the Legislature’s request showing three options for a joint facility. City staff recommended to the Mayor and City Council one of those options, which consisted of independent detention facilities at the same location, with shared services."
"While we supported this solution and believe it had the potential to bring benefits to both the city and county, we understand that decisions of this nature require careful consideration. The City’s ongoing commitment to exploring innovative solutions for the community's needs is commendable. We value our positive relationship with the City and will continue seeking opportunities for future collaboration that align with the mutual interests of our residents."
“As we move forward, we remain focused on completing our state-of-the-art detention center project. We have a responsibility to meet our obligations, maintain public trust and protect our residents’ interests by delivering the facility on schedule and within budget. Doing so not only shows our commitment to efficient government, but also sets a strong foundation for a safer and more secure future for all.”