KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas responded after a group of Missouri lawmakers asked Gov. Mike Parson to call a special session about changes to the way the city will fund its police department.
The four lawmakers who represent the Northland said they are “dismayed” that Lucas and other members of the City Council suddenly passed two ordinances last week without public input.
“While I welcome my Republican friends’ newfound interest in the plight of Kansas Citians, particularly in our inner-city neighborhoods, respectfully, our community, my community, has been in a violent crime crisis for my entire lifetime,” Lucas said in a statement. “With more than 100 murders per year in Kansas City for generations, we have to work non-stop and creatively to fix our serious gun violence problem, not continue to look the other way as our state legislature majority has done for too long.”
The mayor and majority of the city council supported a plan introduced and passed last week. Supporters said the plan increases funding to the police department, and also adds accountability.
The city is required by the state to give 20% of its general revenue to the police department. Anything over that 20% would be placed in a Community Services and Prevention Fund. The police department would need to make requests for money from that fund. It’s up to the city manager and Board of Police Commissioners to approve the funding requests.
“The crisis has long been here. While new to some legislators, it’s not new to Black Kansas Citians,” Lucas said. “I hope our legislature, rather than using cities as a talking point to appeal to their base, works with us, as we respect our police, our educators, and our health care establishment to actually make a difference in outcomes for our city and work with us to make Kansas City safer.”
Lucas also invited legislators to join him for a walking tour of neighborhoods that are often impacted by violent crime. He added that funding in just one area will not solve all of the city’s issues.