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Multidisciplinary Public Safety Task Force seeks to collaboratively prevent, reduce crime across KCMO

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Posted at 12:45 PM, Aug 15, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An ordinance signed Tuesday by Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas, Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw and KCPD Capt. Jonas Baughman supports the Multidisciplinary Public Safety Task Force in its efforts to collaboratively prevent and reduce crime across the city.

While Ordinance 230573 was passed in July, the framework of the task force was revealed this week.

“This will make a difference for us, and this is part of our commitment to making sure that every block in every neighborhood can be safer in Kansas City,” Lucas said.

As KCMO is on track to surpass its deadliest year on record (2020), the task force combines efforts across the police department and local government to address properties with high calls for service and environmental factors that contribute to crime.

For example, Lucas said police may have been called to an area multiple times where there are overgrown weeds and other factors deemed likely to contribute to crime. However, it is likely the corresponding city department responsible for blight and clean-up was left out of the conversation.

By “connecting the dots,” the mayor is confident this initiative will be different and will deliver change.

“But (what) we are saying now is that we are supporting each other, that we’re making sure that one hand knows what the other is doing,” Lucas said.

Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw said she was excited to announce the team is seeing “some early success.”

Work has begun with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to increase lighting and security on buses and at bus stops.

The task force is also focusing on graffiti, blight and illegal dumping, among other issues.

“It’s going to take all of us. … I believe that together, we can make a difference,” Parks-Shaw said.

Simply put, KCPD Capt. Baughman described the team as an “analytical engine” that “works from the inside out” to look at the places and not the people contributing to the issues.

“Despite what may seem to be insurmountable challenges, there is hope,” Baughman said.

When Baughman, Lucas and Parks-Shaw signed the ordinance Tuesday, they were in the parking lot of a business they are actively working with through the task force’s efforts.

A fatal shooting occurred outside the business, a Fast Stop, in June. Since then, the task force has made contact with the business to stop drug sales, fights and shootings on the property.

“Fundamentally, this is a sign that we will not give up and we will never give up on making our community safer, no matter our challenges,” Lucas said.

Moving forward, the force — which includes the city’s health, public works, parks and recreation and regulated industries departments, as well as the Municipal Court — plans to continue to work on issues similar to the city's revocation of a business license for a property where a mass shooting took place earlier this summer. The business was allegedly operating illegally as a nightclub.