KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The AdHoc Group Against Crime marked it’s 40th Anniversary Wednesday night as its founder celebrated his 85th birthday.
Alvin Brooks said he never could have imagined a gala like the one held at the downtown Marriott when he formed the group 40 years ago. After all “ad hoc” means an impromptu attempt to fix a problem quickly. But forty years later, just like the 85-year-old they’re still working hard on solutions.
Brooks, a Kansas City police officer since 1954, called the first meeting November 30th, 1977 to ease fears of a possible serial killer police officer who had killed 10 women.
“We thought we’d work to help police department solve those 10 homicides and then move on,” Brooks said.
Former Kansas City Mayor Charles Wheeler saw the impact Brooks group was making bridging the gap between police and the community.
“He became my advisor on the whole police department situation and the minority situation," said Wheeler, Kansas City's mayor from 1971 to 1979.
Many of the things most associated with AdHoc Group Against Crime today came from Brooks' vision, even if at the time they seemed outlandish.
"We kind of revolutionized the holding of prayer vigils. People said prayer vigils don’t do any good, but it’s a part of the healing process," Brooks explained.
Through the years homicide rates have fluctuated in Kansas City, but Brooks commitment to helping families heal hasn't wavered.
“He’s been able to be a consistent voice in our community for people that have been victimized by homicides and violence, but also been a huge bridge builder," Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed said.
“He’s done an outstanding job I can’t think of a person who deserves an award better than Alvin Brooks," Wheeler said.
Current AdHoc President Damon Daniel provided Brooks a key ring with a ruby inside, signifying the group's 40th anniversary. The keys were to the new Alvin Brooks Center for Healing and Justice which AdHoc opened in March.
“I wish we could say we could go out of business but I think with the violence the way that it is now and the number of homicides in particular there’s still a lot of work to be done," Brooks said.