Rise in crime prompts plea for more officers on streets, city council agrees to further meetings with KCPD

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With violent crime on the rise in Kansas City, council members and police are in talks about how to get more officers on the streets. The topic was one of the items discussed at Thursday's city council meeting.

The agenda item is personal for Officer Phillip Travis who sat with dozens of other officers during Thursday's meeting.

"Yeah it’s important to me. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. My family lives here. I’ve been with the police department for 22 ½ years," he said.

Council members decided Thursday to move forward with meetings with the police department to figure out how much of KC's budget is slated for KCPD. ,

"I’m uncomfortable committing to the two percent because I don’t know what that number’s really going to look like," Councilwoman Heather Hall said.

That's why Hall said the the talks will open up doors to get a real feel for staffing needs, where officers should be stationed, and potential pay increases. Public surveys show Kansas Citians want safer neighborhoods and less crime.

"The way to do that is to have more police officers on the street. We need more officers on the street," Hall said.

Brad Lemon is the president of the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police. He agrees with Hall.

"It’s a great big city. A lot of square miles and unfortunately, we’ve got quite a bit of violent crime in the area. We could use that help," he said.

"As long as we have less officers, less experienced officers, less qualified officers, it’s not going to work," Officer Travis said.

In the next couple weeks, some of the council members will meet with police and city leaders. City council makes budget decisions in February; they vote in March.