RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Kansas City’s police union endorsed Missouri State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer for re-election on Thursday morning.
KCFOP leaders cited Luetkemeyer’s support of police funding, leading them to endorse him in advance of the Nov. 8 election. However, one Kansas City Councilmember accuses Luetkemeyer of pushing misinformation.
“We need to make sure we are standing with our law enforcement officers,” Luetkemeyer said. “People need to feel safe on the streets. To feel safe, we need men and women in law enforcement who are willing to put their lives on the line to keep us safe.”
Luetkemeyer, a Republican, holds a stance in sharp contrast to Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’ push to divert $42 million in funding from current police budgets, earmarking them instead for community engagement and crime intervention programs meant to assist officers.
This is also the fuel for Missouri Amendment 4, which would require local city leaders to spend a designated amount on policing.
“Taking money and pushing it in social services is not going to stop a bad guy with a gun. That’s not the way the world works. We need to have law enforcement officers with guns who will put their lives on the line to keep all of us safe,” Luetkemeyer said.
“That’s not to knock those services. If the city wants to find the money to do those things, find it somewhere outside the law enforcement realm,” KC Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon told FOX4 on Thursday.
Kansas City’s councilmembers seem split on this issue. Third District Councilmember Melissa Robinson commented that Amendment 4 adds up to overreach at the state level, and the intention isn’t to defund police.
“I want residents to be able to have a voice in how their tax dollars are being spent. Unfortunately, Amendment 4 takes away that voice. It takes away that power from local residents,” Councilmember Robinson said.
The Kansas City Police Department continues to lose officers. The department’s media unit confirms it currently staffs around 1,100 sworn officers. Lemon said that’s a 50-year low mark, and tinkering with funding won’t keep anyone safe.
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