KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders in some Kansas City neighborhoods showed their support for Mayor Quinton Lucas’s police funding plan Wednesday night.
It comes in response to a recent Northland meeting painting the move as defunding the police.
Lucas’s plan would move more than $40 million of the $250 million police budget to a Community Services and Prevention Fund. The police board and city manager would then come into contract on how Kansas City police spends that money, giving the city more oversight.
The defenders of the mayor’s plan — representatives of the Community Resource Team — said the characterization is a blatant smear campaign that misrepresents the level of collaboration that went into the decision.
“The neighborhood leaders who are sitting at this table represent thousands of neighbors. They’re not just here by themselves,” said Marquita Taylor, president of the Santa Fe Area Council.
CRT is an alliance of neighborhood associations representing areas like Santa Fe, Oak Park and Ivanhoe. They said they wanted to make a public show of support at their Wednesday evening Town Hall-style meeting following a wave a criticism they describe as deceptive.
“I pretty much nominated myself or volunteered myself to speak to what I thought was — how can I term it — false or misleading information that came out of a town hall meeting up at the Northland,” said Forest Tyson Jr., vice president of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association.
Attendees of that Northland meeting, held by District 1 and 2 city council members, heard and shared fears of a slashed police budget and a reduction of officers.
The people at the CRT meeting say those are lies.
Taylor said her goal is to improve response times in her neighborhood and have accountability when questions go unanswered; but certainly not to create more violence.
“That is the biggest misnomer I’ve heard. I heard it up north. I’ve just heard that. That is not what’s happening. I really hope that people will do their homework,” Taylor said.
“No other in the nation that does not have local control over their police department,” Taylor said.
Tyson Jr. also took issue with how the funding plan had been characterized.
“The one misnomer, the one falsehood that I want to make a point of is that Mayor Lucas rushed to this thing about the reallocation, that he hastily came to these conclusions,” Tyson Jr. said.
“No he did not because he was talking to community leaders. He was talking to us,” Tyson Jr. said.
There is currently no movement on Lucas’s plan. Although the city council voted in favor of enacting the plan, a lawsuit from the Board of Police Commissioners has put everything on hold so for now. Interested parties are watching the courts.