Saturday, June 27, 2020

Mayor Q. Gillum NOT ABOUT To Upset The Local Criminal Public Safety Union...,

kcur |  Kansas City currently has a highly unusual setup for its police department. The department gets its funding largely from the city of Kansas City, but it is not directly controlled by the mayor or city council as other departments are.

Instead, since the late 1930s, it has been under state control and the governor appoints a five-member board to oversee it. Mayor Quinton Lucas is part of that board. The police chief reports to the board, not to the city council or to the city manager.

Over the years there have been periodic calls to return the department to local control, in line with the way most big-city police departments are governed.

Supporters say local control would be one way to hold the police department accountable and more directly address the city’s serious violent crime and homicide problem.

Emanuel Cleaver III, who was among several local Black leaders who stood behind Lucas as he spoke, said he hadn't seen a movement like this in his lifetime. 

"I'm extremely hopeful and believe that we're going to see significant change," Cleaver said.
Cleaver said local control could open the door to other reforms — particularly the establishment of an independent police review board that would handle police complaints. 

Pastor Ronald Lindsay of Concord Fortress of Hope Church in south Kansas City said it's time for Kansas City residents to have a voice in the debate.

"I think that this is a transformative moment to rethink what community is and what being engaged in a health community and culture really looks like," Lindsay said. "It's hard work, it's ugly, but it's absolutely necessary."

Still, local control remains a controversial proposal. 

Opponents fear that it would make the police department vulnerable to political interference. And local control has often been opposed by the Fraternal Order of Police in Kansas City.

Lucas said while Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith was informed of Thursday's announcement, they had yet to sit down and talk about it. 

On Thursday, several groups applauded the mayor’s announcement. The Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, or MORE2, said it was pleased with Lucas’ support of a ballot measure this year to garner voter support.


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