Kansas City Police officer Kelly Sapp has made a more than 100 mile journey on foot to tell Governor Greitens that the murder rate of young people in his city must be addressed. His battles through the heat, rain, traffic, and nightfall have made a statement by walking this week to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City.
A comment from an inner city child who Sapp mentors prompted Sapp to grab his hiking stick and walking shoes.
“He goes ‘All inner city kids are going to die soon, before we’re adults. We’re going to most likely die on the street by a bullet.’ You have to understand that a six year old told me this. I was just dumbfounded,” says Sapp. “I’m not going to accept that. I knew that if I did a walk that was that long to meet the governor that I would absolutely get the word out about violence and these kids.”
According to TV station KMBC, about 36% of this year’s homicide victims in Kansas City are 24 or younger.
Sapp says he told Greitens that more officers are needed and community policing must increase.
“If cops had more time to spend with these kids, you train up an entire generation to trust and admire the police, like I did when I was a kid and not be so violent toward police. There’s a pretty violent generation of kids coming up,” says Sapp.
He says officers walk a thin blue line between the innocent and chaos.
“Sometimes you just get folks who lose track of that,” says Sapp. “The line is getting so thin everywhere. There’s lots of things that need done, a lot of risk-averse policies being done that make us violate our oath and make us unable to be faithful to the officer on our left and our right.”
Sapp says police don’t have time to answer all of the 911 calls.
“We’ve been stripped of so many things for just different units or different new ways of fighting crime. The line is getting very thin and we’re going to start seeing officers getting hurt more often, just like those kids are.”