KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dozens gathered at Kansas City Police South Patrol and online Wednesday to discuss years of rising violent crime and a dwindling police force.
“The reason we are here is because we are concerned about the rapid increase in crime in South Kansas City. There was even a murder today,” Stacey Johnson Cosby, VP Center Planning and Development Council, said.
They had a chance to question Police Commissioner Dawn Cramer, commanders and Police Chief Rick Smith about how officers are assigned to each patrol section.
Several questions centered around why more officers aren’t leaving areas like the Northland with less violent crime for high crime areas.
“I would say to you it’s a great question but we are very limited in what we can move and how we can move people when we have very few resources that we can move right now,” Smith said.
The Police Board of Commissioners has submitted a budget including 135 million in salaries with higher pay aimed at getting 200 extra police officers. Right now the department has about 1,200 but has requested to hold three police academies next year.
Smith said he’ll retire sometime after the budget is approved likely in early spring.
That announcement came a few days after Det. Eric DeValkeneare’s guilty verdict and a meeting with Mayor Quinton Lucas and Police Board of Commissioners president. Smith has explained he always planned to retire after five years in the position.
Tuesday FOX4 obtained audio through a sunshine request to the prosecutor’s office alleged to be Smith saying the “bad guy’s dead” at the police shooting scene of Cameron Lamb.
Some activists Wednesday said an interim chief should take the lead on next year’s budget discussions.
Johnson Cosby said she hopes calls for his resignation before then don’t affect the budget.
“Regardless of any politics, we need more police officers,” she said.
Smith made no mention of any recent controversy, but did face questions regarding more than just the number of officers, but also the quality.
“What is the training that will address the racial divide and the insensitivity in dealing with people of color,” one woman asked.
“Racial insensity, people are screened for any potential biases that we would not want on the police department,” Smith responded.