KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City pastors and city leaders are coming together to improve policing.
On Friday, Mayor Quinton Lucas and KCPD Chief Rick Smith met with a group of ministers from across the metro to discuss police reform at St. James United Methodist Church.
Pastor Darron Edwards spoke outside the church afterward, calling it a step forward.
“And so I’m happy to say that the chief is beginning to walk miles in my shoes and understand the community, and I am walking miles in his shoes to see it from his angle,” Edwards said. “And together at the table we are reaching some really good reform.”
Edwards said they have been working on the following reforms since June:
- An outside independent agency — the Missouri State Highway Patrol — will now investigate all shootings involving an officer.
- Officers must intervene and report excessive use of force by other officers.
- All patrol officers will have body cameras by early 2021.
- The department will continue its practice of not teaching or using chokeholds.
- A full-time psychologist hired in KCPD for officers to visit.
Ricky Kidd was wrongfully convicted in a double murder and served for 23 years in prison, but he believes society has failed the majority of officers who are good.
He said these reforms will help officers as well as citizens.
“I have every reason not to like an officer or a prosecutor or a court or a judge. That’s not the case with me,” Kidd said. “I think we get to do this together. I’m happy that we were able to do it together with this type of reform that’s just been pushed, or rather coming down the pipeline, and I’m excited because it’s the beginning of more ways to go.”
This collaboration is called, “Getting to the Heart of the Matter.” Edwards said hopefully there will be more in the future.