Kansas City councilwoman leads new effort to bring KCPD under local control

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- Across the street from Kansas City police headquarters, there’s a new effort to return the department back under the control of the local government.

Kansas City District 3 Councilwoman Melissa Robinson is spearheading the charge.

"I personally believe that we're living off of an archaic model when you think about 1939,” Robinson said.

Since 1939, the department has been under the control of the State of Missouri, but a resolution filed by Robinson last week would look to change that.

The resolution is part of a fact-finding mission to gather information on whether returning the department to local control would make sense.

Robinson said with more than $250 million spent on public safety, the conversation isn’t only needed for accountability, but to also have more control of the department to seek solutions on tackling the growing violence.

"This is about accountability," Robinson said. "When you think about the number of homicides that have happened, when you think about the large number of revenue and resources and that we put into public safety."

Violence is something Robinson tackles on a daily basis. She serves an area where many of the city’s homicides are recorded.

On Wednesday night, when the city recorded three murders in four hours, two of them were in Robinson’s district.

"This is something that is impacting all of us, and people are tired and frustrated,” she said.

The idea has been proposed several times previously but has been unsuccessful.

Kansas City is the only city in Missouri, and one of the largest in the country, that doesn't have full control of its police department.

"I think there are several options we can take, but I think it is critically important to determine if it is something important to the city," Robinson said.

Robinson’s resolution asks City Manager Troy Schulte to report back to the council with the next six months with his findings.

Discussions on the resolution will take place during a council meeting on Dec. 4.

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