KANSAS CITY, Mo. – KCPD Chief Darryl Forte is unveiling what he calls the “Plaza Plan,” after a crowd of 150 teens gathered at the Country Club Plaza, the night ending in three fights and multiple arrests.
Chief Forte says there always has been a “Plaza Plan,” but it needs a few tweaks. He could not tell us everything, but there are a few key points that he highlighted, and one of them starts with the parents of the few teens who cause all the trouble.
“No more babysitting,” Chief Forte said.
In the past, police have taken unruly teens home, but now they will keep them locked up and make parents come get them.
“To inconvenience them basically, to tell the truth. We don’t want to make it so easy where we cite them and show up, and they go back to sleep,” he said. “We want them to know this is where your kid has been and you have to come pick them up.”
They are also going to crack down on the ones who break the law, like those last Saturday night.
“They were asked multiple times to get out of the street,” Chief Forte said. “Don’t be shocked if the number of citations goes up. We are saying no more.”
Community activist Ron Hunt says the city does not spend enough money providing things for young people to do and safe places to go.
“To go and hang out listen to music, be young, young and just do things that young people do,” Hunt said.
Chief Forte said that’s a poor excuse for some of the poor behavior that has been exhibited.
“Just because you don’t have something to do, don’t mean you have to go out there and use profanity in the middle of the street and damage property. That is no excuse,” Chief Forte said.
The city has come under attack because it is mostly black teens getting arrested.
“It has been really offensive, I’ve talked to I don’t know how many police officers in the last two weeks or so about comments made about it being racially motivated. It’s not racially motivated, not at all. As a matter of fact we should have cited more people than we have,” Chief Forte said.
Chief Forte says that the police are responsible for how they handle the problem on the Plaza and other places, but unless you hold the parents accountable and get the community involved, we will be talking about this again this summer. There will be much more to this new “Plaza Plan” and he is meeting with community leaders, including Highwoods, to get their input on how to best address the problem.