Renewed push for local control of KCPD

Posted at 10:30 PM, Apr 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-08 23:30:18-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a new push for local control of the Kansas City Police Department.

The Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equality, MORE^2, announced Sunday efforts to change the current system, in which a state-appointed board oversees the department. 

"We're the only city that doesn't have local control," MORE^2 Criminal Justice Co-Chair Rabbi Doug Alpert said.

The announcement came at a public meeting about police shootings in Kansas City organized by the group and backed by the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Kansas City.

"We will never quit, and we will never sit down until correction until justice rolls down in law enforcement in this city and in this country," Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard of the SCLC KC exclaimed during an impassioned speech at the event. 

The families of Ryan Stokes and Dantae Franklin, two young men killed by police, were also there.

"Nothing will bring my son back, but I hope speaking out and fighting for the truth will make a change," Narene Stokes, Ryan's mother, told the crowd. 

After the speakers addressed pews of people at Grand Ave. Temple, they all picked up signs and marched through the snow to KCPD Headquarters on Locust. 

41 Action News caught up with Chief Rick Smith on Sunday, but he declined to comment on the latest efforts for local control. A similar push in 2016 failed, and in 2013, a police governance committee voted to maintain state control.

But MORE^2 leaders think there's now a clear path to change, which would need to come through a legislative fix in Jefferson City.

"I think it's clear nobody's going away. We're going to keep at this thing until we get the just law enforcement this city needs and deserves," Alpert said.

The group has upcoming meetings on both sides of the state line to discuss criminal justice issues:

  • Kansas: April 16 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Grandview Park Presbyterian Church, 1613 Wilson Blvd.
  • Missouri: May 7 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 620 E. Armour Blvd.