KANSAS CITY, Mo. — City council committee wants to hire more off-duty law enforcement officers to provide security in Westport and the city’s other entertainment areas.
There were three off-duty Kansas City police officers working security in Westport at Ale House when a fight spilled out into a parking lot and resulted in a shootout, which killed one man and wounded five others.
City council members say they have since learned that the Westport Business Association has had money available to hire more off-duty police officers for security in the nightclub district, but can’t find enough Kansas City cops willing to take on the extra job.
That’s why the city is now looking at hiring five off-duty Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies to work in Westport and other entertainment areas.
“It’s an idea of how do you have law enforcement officers who have an understanding of certain areas in Kansas City, know our neighborhoods, know what’s going on, have the ability to arrest, and importantly, are folks that are available?” Mayor Quinton Lucas said.
“We are trying to make sure we have access to as many folks who are available as possible to make sure we can have safer districts, safer nights out for everyone in Kansas City. We take this very seriously.”
Hiring deputies to improve security is already running into problems.
Councilwoman Kathryn Shields says Sheriff Darryl Forte won’t allow deputies to use county patrol cars and equipment for off-duty security without being compensated by the city.
And deputies won’t take the security work without having their squad cars. The city has a fund of $750,000 that may help clear that hurdle.
Off-duty law enforcement officers are paid $75 an hour to provide security in places like 18th and Vine, the Country Club Plaza, and Westport.
But as good as that money sounds to some, many cops want no part of the job.