Kansas City’s police board planning closed meeting to discuss legal options on funding

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s Board of Police Commissioners plan to hold a special meeting Friday morning to discuss the police department’s budget.

But nearly all of that meeting won’t be open to the public.

The police board plans to meet in closed session Friday. They’ll have to start the meeting in open session, and then vote on a motion to move to a private meeting.

The topic: litigation.

The meeting was scheduled after the board voted Monday to weigh its legal options surrounding changes in the way the police department is funded.

Board members Nathan Garrett and Cathy Dean were appointed to a litigation committee to look at the board’s rights and responsibilities in connection to the funding changes. The board also voted to move to litigation if the committee finds legal standing.

On Monday, Garrett said the move is what’s best for Kansas City and the department.

The new way of funding provides the police department with 20% of the city’s general revenue. The rest will be put in a newly-created fund. The police department will need to request money from that fund to cover public safety, social workers, and many other expenses. The city manager and police board would need to approve each request.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said the change in funding will give the police department more money to operate, but it adds accountability for how the department spends millions of dollars every year.

A group of four Missouri lawmakers asked Gov. Mike Parson to call a special session because of the changes. The governor has not said if he plans to honor that request.

The police board, police chief, and four members of the city council are also upset they weren’t notified of the changes before the mayor introduced them.

Friday’s special meeting will be held virtually, and originally the police department said it would be open to the public. Thursday afternoon that changed. The meeting will begin, and someone on the board will need to make a motion to enter executive session. It will be voted on, and if approved by the majority, the meeting will be closed to the public.

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