Councilman calls for KCPD chief’s resignation amid high homicide rate, slow body cam rollout

News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City 4th District Councilman Eric Bunch says he’s had enough. He’s calling on Police Chief Rick Smith to resign.

Bunch tweeted the call Tuesday during the Police Board of Commissioners meeting. 

He said between the timeline of rolling out body cameras and the city’s rising crime rate, he believes Smith should step down.

“Does this police chief really care about the safety of the citizens here?” Bunch asked.

“Homicides are at an all-time high and officer brutality is common under Smith’s leadership. Chief Smith should be fired or resign,” Bunch said in the tweet Tuesday morning.

It was in response to 4th District Councilwoman-at-large Katheryn Shields bringing up concerns during the police board meeting when addressing the commissioners about the budget. During Monday’s safety meeting she brought up concerns about delays in body camera roll out, access and storage of the video, and the need for diverse representation when creating policy.

“We still have not seen a full rollout of that yet. We’ve seen many grants come in, and few officers have those on, and we don’t even know what access the public is going to have to the footage. We don’t even know how long they’re going to keep the footage,” Bunch said.

Smith said during the meeting their policy on cameras is not finalized, and a full rollout will take months.

“We talked about 120 days, 180 days, nothing’s been hardened in policy.” Smith said. “We hope to have a draft of that policy next month or the month after as that comes to the board, but we’ve weighed all these considerations as we’ve gone through with the body camera proposal with our stakeholders’ group.”

Bunch said waiting another 120 to 180 days is too long for answers.

“We’ve had a record-setting year for homicides, and we’ve already seen our first few homicides of 2021,” Bunch said. “That’s a performance I think is unacceptable from the leadership of the police department, so my tweet was finally saying something that I think many people feel in this community is that Chief Smith is not the right person for this job to lead the police department.”

FOX4 reached out to KCPD, and a spokesperson said Smith has no plans to resign at this time. We also reached out to Mayor Quinton Lucas and Councilwoman Shields but did not hear back.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Popular

Latest

More News