Elected officials defend police budget reallocation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Saturday afternoon, dozens packed into the Gregg Klice Community Center eager to ask questions about recent police reform.

“We have to work on prevention. You cannot police your way out of the problems that we have. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again.” Ryana Parks Shaw, Fifth District Councilwoman, said.

Councilwoman Parks Shaw defended the ordinances reiterating that this is not a move to defund the police. 

“We continue to support the funding, but we got to start to think differently and function differently if we are going to see a significant change.“ Shaw said.

Mayor Quinton Lucas said these ordinances will give the city greater ability to hold the police department accountable. 

“Making sure we work on things like our community interaction work and so that is simply what the city council and the mayor were asking for.” Mayor Lucas said.

However, many in the law enforcement community disagree. 

Friday, May 28, the State of Missouri on behalf of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners filed a lawsuit against Mayor Quinton Lucas, the city council, and the city manager to end the reallocation.

Councilman Lee Barnes said the city is ready for the legal battle.

“Well, I think this entire thing is going to wind up in federal court.” Barnes, 5th district councilman, said.

Local Trial Attorney Phil Levota said this could be a long fight because both sides have a legitimate argument.

“The law is pretty clear that the board of police commissioners controls that money. But it is a little vague on whether the city gives them all of the budget that they ask for, so both sides have a reasonable meritful argument that could go either way.” Levota said. 

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