CLAY COUNTY — Four Northland GOP state representatives want Gov. Mike Parson to call a special session to discuss Kansas City Police funding.
The four lawmakers, who issued a public letter to the governor about the matter, said the Kansas City Council cut $42 million from the police and transferred it to a community service fund. Part of Kansas City is in Clay County. The lawmakers call the move an unprecedented defunding of the city’s police force.
“This move only pushes a city we love and represent closer to the brink of disaster. As a state, we must move to protect our citizens in the state’s largest city and restore the statutory intent of the General Assembly,” reads the letter to the governor. “In light of the rapidly developing situation, we ask that you call a special session of the legislature to address this dangerous action.”
“There is a new financial crisis now that’s been created by the mayor when it comes to providing public safety for Kansas City at a time when violent crime in Kansas City is at an all-time high,” Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, who represents District 38 in the Missouri House, said. “This is more than wrongheaded on the part of Mayor Lucas.”
“Last week’s actions needlessly puts my constituents at risk and threaten the positions of 400 law enforcement officers,” Rep. Josh Hurlbert of District 12 and Smithville said. “The actions of the City Council are reckless, all in an attempt to grab some form of power by the mayor.”
Rep. Sean Pouche of Platte County and Missouri House District 13 called the police fund transfer disappointing, saying Kansas City’s mayor chose not to include “any of the Northland in the discussion, nor the police chief in this decision or mention his plans during the recent budget talks.”
Rep. Chris Brown of District 16, which includes areas around Liberty and Gladstone, called Lucas’ actions divisive.
“(They) have lacked transparency and have put law enforcement and communities at risk,” he said.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat, disagrees, saying funding reallocation will improve community policing.
“There are folks that are trying to scare you and trying to scare the people of Kansas City. We’re here to actually try to make sure we’re doing something new, so the world looks a little different for us and that it’s safer and that everybody is part of it. This will be better for neighborhoods, this is better for community policing,” Missourinet reported Lucas as saying to Kansas City reporters.
The Urban League of Kansas City praised Lucas and the council's actions.
It’s up to Gov. Parson, who worked multiple decades in law enforcement before serving as governor, to call the special session to order.