KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas appeared on FOX News today, May 21, defending a recent proposal passed by City Council that changes funding for the Kansas City Police Department.
Harris Faulkner grilled Lucas, suggesting the mayor is slashing funding to the police department. Lucas disagreed, saying the movement of funds would actually help policing and community safety.
“This is actually just responsible funding of a police department,” Lucas said of the proposal, which passed 9-4. “If you take money from something and put money back into that very same thing, then you haven’t actually defunded or taken away from anything.”
Opponents claim Lucas is trying to defund the police department, following a movement of intense law enforcement spending scrutiny as a result of the death of George Floyd. Faulkner alleged that cities that have tried defunding their police have had “dismal” outcomes.
“The difference between Kansas City’s approach and other cities… we’re just shifting funds,” Lucas said, claiming $45 million would be reinvested.
Lucas said that the proposal simply gives the City Council more control over how money is spent in policing. The legal action would create a fund with the money left over after the state minimum. Missouri mandates that at least 20% of the budget needs to go to police. Money beyond that will now be put in another fund, which local leaders, including the city manager and Board of Police Commissioners, would then allocate.
Many fear money will actually be taken away from staffing and hiring. One council member in opposition said it would make the city “unsafe for our children and our families.”
However, Lucas has said his goals are to make the community safer. He said the reallocation would go into recruiting and prevention measures, like crisis intervention.
When Faulkner asked about the violence in Kansas City, Lucas said murders are not a new phenomenon of under policing.
“We have had a homicide crisis… for pretty much all of my entire life of 36 years,” Lucas said.
The Fraternal Order of Police in Kansas City and some local state representatives have said they are against the measure.
See the full interview in the video player embedded in this story.