A Kansas City state senator who’s a member of Missouri’s Legislative Black Caucus opposes a special session on the issue of Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) funding.
Four Northland Kansas City-area GOP lawmakers have asked Governor Mike Parson (R) to call a special session, citing what they describe as unprecedented defunding of the KCPD. State Sen. Barbara Anne Washington (D-Kansas City) disagrees, saying it’s not a defunding of the police but a reallocation of the funding.
“And it is my understanding that there is going to be some conversation or there is the the need and desire for conversation between the mayor (Quinton Lucas) and the council and the police department as to how to reallocate those funds to make them more beneficial to the public safety of Kansas City, Missouri,” Washington says.
State Rep. Doug Richey (R-Excelsior Springs) and three of his colleagues say the Kansas City Council has cut $42 million from the police and transferred it to a community service fund. Richey says Kansas City had a record 178 homicides in 2020. There have been 67 homicides so far this year.
Senator Washington tells Missourinet that the KCPD needs more community policing, along with sensitivity and cultural diversity training.
“We need to go back to more community policing. We need to go back to where our police are something that (are) respected and are part of our community, and it’s my understanding that some of this funding will do that,” says Washington.
Senator Washington also notes this is the city’s budget, and not the state’s budget.
The four GOP House members see it differently, saying Kansas City is in crisis. The four say that Mayor Lucas and the council have moved against uniformed Kansas City police officers, adding that the actions “were taken with no public input and with only a few hours of review.” The letter to Governor Parson is signed by State Reps. Richey, Josh Hurlbert (R-Smithville), Chris Brown (R-Kansas City) and Sean Pouche (R-Kansas City).
As for Mayor Lucas, he has predicted that the move will improve community policing and will be better for neighborhoods.
The Urban League of Kansas City has praised the mayor and the council, for its decision.
Missourinet Kansas City television partner KMBC reports the Northland Chamber of Commerce Board of Kansas City voted Monday to denounce the recent KCPD budget changes approved by the council.
It’s ultimately up to Governor Parson, whether or not to call a special session. While he has criticized the Kansas City Council’s recent decision, the governor has said that he currently has 13 special session requests on his desk, and that the only special session he plans to call this year at this point involves congressional redistricting.
Governor Parson is still reviewing Representative Richey’s request.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Sen. Barbara Anne Washington (D-Kansas City), which was recorded on June 4, 2021:
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