KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A push to restore funding discretion to the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department failed to clear its first hurdle at City Hall on Tuesday.
The ordinance, proposed by First District Councilwoman Heather Hall and Second District Councilwoman Teresa Loar, would use COVID-19 relief money and give the police department $45 million as part of a one-time lump sum.
But the topic is currently a messy one at the city level.
The reason is an on-going lawsuit between the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners and Mayor Quinton Lucas about police funding. The new ordinance proposals arrived as the parties wait for a ruling in that lawsuit.
The proposed ordinance would take about $45 million of the city’s COVID-19 relief money and give it to the police department to hire more officers and pay for overtime costs.
“And President Biden has said, in fact, law enforcement and increasing officers on the street is critical to the safety of our cities – especially those with violent crime. And while our violent crime numbers are going down, they’re not going down like we want them to,” Hall said.
Forty-five million dollars is very close to the amount currently being disputed in court with the board of police commissioners not wanting to negotiate with the city over its use.
Counsel for Lucas said that he is supportive of a new and growing police academy classes included in the discussion. But he disagrees conceptually with the ordinance as well as its timing.
There was no objection to holding the item until the following meeting of the committee but a question remains on if the ordinance will be revisited especially if a judge rules in favor of the board of police commissioners.
It is also unclear exactly when that ruling is expected to come down.