KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A couple hundred people filled a room in Kansas City's Northland to speak directly to the four council members who represent districts north of the Missouri River. All four of them voted against the plan to reallocate more than $42 million into a separate community services and prevention fund under the city's control.
Most of the crowd was against the plan, whether for the fear of less police protection or how the process played out, as the Northland council members claim they were not given the heads up and the measures were introduced at city council and passed the same day.
"It was completely shameful," resident Tim Johnson said. "We are all voters, and we elected these four people to elect us and they were shut out. And this is the exact reason there should not be a local control if these kind of actions are going to happen."
The president of the Kansas City, Missouri, Fraternal Order of the Police told residents at the meeting that he is “ashamed” of the city for reallocating the funding.
“We are going backwards at a speed that no other department in the country can even imagine,” Brad Lemon said to the standing-room only crowd that was largely in opposition to the reallocation.
The department, according to Lemon, has 1,250 officers in 2021 compared to 1,460 in 2007. And last week, the city council approved in a 9-4 vote measures that will shift more than $40 million from police to a community services and prevention fund.
“We’re not going to call social workers to protect this city,” Lemon said.
However, a few in the crowd spoke in favor of the change.
"I’m a taxpayer and whether we have one or 1 million police officers for the past three years, it doesn’t make a different because crime is still rising," Kansas City resident Ron Hunt said.
Organizers of this town hall said Mayor Quinton Lucas as well as the eight other council members were invited to listen.
Details for the community services and prevention fund have not yet been released.