KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Members of the city council and the Kansas City police chief are speaking out on two new ordinances Mayor Quinton Lucas introduced Thursday afternoon that would make big changes to police funding.
According to the mayor’s office, the majority of city council members helped co-author the legislation, but four council members were not involved in the ordinances.
Those four members held a news conference Thursday afternoon to address their concerns with the proposals. They said they were not consulted about Lucas’ ideas before he announced them.
If approved, the ordinances would change part of the way the police department is funded.
If approved, 20% of the city’s general revenue would still go to the Kansas City Police Department, which is required by the Missouri Legislature.
The mayor’s office said anything over that 20% would go to a new Community Services and Prevention Fund.
The police department could make requests from that funding, but the City Manager and Board of Police Commissioners would need to approve those requests.
The mayor’s office said he does not see this as defunding the police, but instead adds accountability to the department.
KCPD Chief Rick Smith said the police department was also not consulted about the new proposals. He issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“I am disheartened Mayor Lucas and the other sponsoring council members did not reach out to the Police Department prior to today’s press conference to notify us of such a policy shift.
“As a member of the Board of Police Commissioners, the Mayor meets monthly with other Board members, Department members and the public. At these meetings, we discuss performance and statistics from each bureau, including crime, budgets, policy and other matters.
“The Mayor and the other sponsoring council members have not previously mentioned this proposal, so our discussions about it are just beginning.”
The executive board for Kansas City’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police #99, also spoke out on the new proposals:
“We are holding our comments until after the Chief Smith and the Board of Police Commissioners respond to the Mayor’s reckless actions regarding additional cuts to KCPD’s budget. We do want to thank the four council members from District’s 1 and 2 who immediately held a news conference opposing the proposed ordinances. The executive board of the KCFOP is exploring all legal and legislative remedies while we wait to hear from those tasked with running KCPD and keeping the citizens safe.”