KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Voters in Wyandotte County will head to the polls in November to elect a candidate to move the area forward. As Mayor of Kansas City, Kan. and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County has a critical role in addressing the current needs of the community while planning years into the future.
Tyrone Garner is challenging current Mayor/CEO David Alvey for the position. Garner joined FOX 4’s John Holt and The Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling on this edition of 4Star Politics. They hoped to host a forum between the two candidates, but Alvey said a communication issue and scheduling conflict prevented him from attending. Holt and Helling hope to talk with Mayor Alvey in next week’s episode.
This week, Tyrone Garner had the opportunity to share his plan for Wyandotte County, should he be elected on Nov. 2.
One of the largest issues in the community, at least when it comes to news coverage, is the state of crime in Wyandotte County and the operation of the Kansas City, Kan. Police Department. Jay-Z’s Team Roc organization announced this week that it plans to donate $1 million to investigate allegations of police misconduct and innocence in the county.
“Tell us in broad strokes what’s wrong with law enforcement, if anything, in Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., and what needs to be done?” Helling asked.
“The vast majority, 99% of the police officers that work on the Kansas City, Kan. police department, I’ve worked with them, they are dedicated. They are committed, they are out doing the things people want them to do every day, which is to keep us safe. Build those strong partnerships and those relationships with the community. To not just solve crime, but prevent crime from even happening, and they’ve done a good job of that,” Garner said.
“But you would not argue that there are problems,” Helling said. “In fact you have suggested the Department of Justice should come in and cast a separate set of independent eyes on some of the allegations there. Do you still stand by that?”
“I totally stand behind that. Anywhere in the Unified Government, my position has always been clear. If there are allegations of criminal misconduct, I don’t believe that the police should ever police themselves,” Garner said. “I think as we look at 21st century policing that just doesn’t reflect the values of our society today. We need to move towards an era where we bring in outside eyes, if you want to call it that, independent agencies that have no connection to the organization.”
Garner said he believes it’s also key to build trust between the police department and the community, but also between the government and the people who live there.
“In certain segments of Wyandotte County, based on my experience and my knowledge, yes, there is a lack of trust and there is a lack of trust in that area, especially in communities of color. That’s where a lot of that originates from,” Garner said.
Development and high property taxes in the county are also a concern, for Garner. He wants to look at ways to cut some of those taxes to make the county more attractive.
“We’ve given millions of dollars away to big businesses. They come in here, and we want their business, make no doubt about it, but we have to be responsible in the incentives to get these businesses here. We want corporations that want to come to Wyandotte County and be good partners. That want to pay their fare share, and that want to help Wyandotte County be successful and be great. And you can’t do that if you don’t want to pay anything,” Garner said.
You can watch Garner answer a number of other questions in the above video player.
The election is scheduled to take place on Nov. 2.
FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special digital venture with new episodes released Wednesdays at 5 p.m.