Hoping to hire more officers, police board president unhappy over Kansas City’s budget

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The president of the Board of Police Commissioners says the city's proposed $1.7 billion budget doesn't add enough new police officers to make our community safer.

There's likely to be a debate in the coming weeks over how many police officers Kansas City should hire.

The proposed budget calls for adding 10 more police officers in the next fiscal year. The first five of those new hires probably wouldn't hit the streets until May 2021.

The leader of the police board said that simply isn't enough to meet the city's public safety needs.

The number of law enforcement officers in Kansas City has shrunk in recent years while demands for police services continue to surge.

Police have determined that they need 65 more officers to meet the growing number of calls for help.

"Ten officers isn’t enough," police board president Nathan Garrett said. "Ten officers isn’t enough. So if you ask me if that satisfies me, the answer is no. The answer might even be, 'Hell no!' It’s not enough."

Councilwoman Heather Hall, vice chair of the public safety committee, said she will push for 30 more officers in budget debates that will take place between now and the end of March.

But Hall said 65 new officers simply cannot be done.

The proposed budget also calls for police to hire six full time social workers and a social worker supervisor. Mayor Quinton Lucas defended the budget, saying it also includes a pay raise for veteran police officers.

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