James: "Distinct possibility" new citywide 9 p.m. curfew - KCTV5

James: "Distinct possibility" new citywide 9 p.m. curfew starting Friday

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said Monday afternoon he is strongly leaning toward implementing a citywide 9 p.m. curfew for youth starting this Friday.

James is asking community leaders for their input after violence on the Country Club Plaza Saturday night left three teens injured and the mayor's security team forcing him into a flower bed to avoid gunfire.

"It is also to advise you that it is a distinct possibility, after extensive discussions, the city of Kansas City will implement a 9 p.m. citywide curfew beginning as soon as Friday," James wrote in the letter released by his office Monday afternoon.

Last week, James had been tepid about a 9 p.m. citywide curfew after the owners of the Plaza called for one. But his opinion evolved after he was 50 yards from gunfire Saturday night.

The current curfew is 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. This is for those 17 years old and younger. Violators face a $1 fine for first offense.

Council members are leaning toward agreeing to change the curfew as James wants, but the issue is whether to make it 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. As of Monday, James was telling council members he preferred the 9 p.m. time.

Another issue is whether any curfew change should be citywide, just for the Plaza or just for designated shopping and entertainment districts.

Councilman John Sharp, who heads the Public Safety Committee, has yet to add the discussion of a curfew to Wednesday's agenda. Sharp said curfews are difficult to enforce.

"I think our police are spread too thin as it is right now," the Sixth District councilman said. "We don't have enough police. We ought just to admit that and studies have shown our officers spend way too much time just running from call to call."

Sharp also said that teen violence deserves more attention than it has received before now.

"This is a problem that's been going on for a long time," he said. "You've been having young people killed for a long time in other parts of Kansas City and it should have reached a crisis stage way before this."

Three teens ages 13, 15, and 16 were wounded after gunfire erupted on the Plaza about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The teens were "inside a mob of hundreds," the mayor's office said.

All three are expected to recover and all should be released from the hospital by Monday afternoon, the mayor's office said.

James, former Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Brooks and other community leaders were at the Plaza Saturday night in an effort to quell problems since this was the last weekend before most area students return to school. James was near the Cheesecake Factory when the shots rang out and his bodyguards from the Kansas City Police Department shoved him to the ground and shielded his body.

The bodyguard previously served Mayors Emanuel Cleaver, Kay Barnes and briefly Mark Funkhouser.

Earlier Monday, KCTV5's Heather Staggers interviewed James at City Hall.

"We'll address whether or not there will be a curfew and if so what it would look like after we have heard from the police department and legislative session on Thursday," James said.

But later Monday, James had a stronger tone in his letter to community leaders. He began the letter by saying Kansas City "has joined an unfortunate, but growing, list of cities throughout the world that are forced to deal with large congregations of young people and violence associated with those gatherings."

"While we may not be able to stop shootings like the one last weekend, understand that this situation cannot stand," James wrote. "Reducing crime in our neighborhoods and keeping our children safe will require a coordinated effort. It cannot just be the city or the police department or churches or schools. Rather, it must be all of the above and more. Whatever the solution is, I know it begins and ends at home. Parents are the first and best option to monitor their children and keep them safe."

Councilman Jermaine Reed, who represents the Third District, said any curfew change should not be just for the Plaza or a single area.

"There are a number of things that can be done to address this issue of teens just hanging out," Reed said. "This is a citywide issue in terms of them having a place to go during the summer and things to do."

James said he has tapped his aide, Genaro Ruiz, to handle this issue on behalf of the mayor's office.

"Working together, I know we can turn this negative incident into a positive turning point in our community," James said.

To read coverage about Saturday night's violence, click here. To read what Kansas City parents and community leaders are saying about the situation, click here.

Copyright 2011 KCTV. All rights reserved.

Kansas City's mayor Sly James says they will begin talks this week on how to handle the problems with recent youth violence...particularly after what happened on the Country Club Plaza this past weekend.

 

Today, Mayor James and Council members say they will be tied up with other city matters and will not take any action today.

Mayor James mentioned the possibility of moving up the weekend curfew for those under 18 from 11 p.m. to 9 p.m.

But that will take discussion between police, municipal court and citizens.

On Saturday, three teens ages 13,15, and 16 were wounded after gunfire erupted on the plaza.

The mayor, and other city leaders happened to be walking the plaza that same day the

Kansas City's mayor Sly James says they will begin talks this week on how to handle the problems with recent youth violence...particularly after what happened on the Country Club Plaza this past weekend.

Today, Mayor James and Council members say they will be tied up with other city matters and will not take any action today.

Mayor James mentioned the possibility of moving up the weekend curfew for those under 18 from 11 p.m. to 9 p.m.

But that will take discussion between police, municipal court and citizens.

On Saturday, three teens ages 13,15, and 16 were wounded after gunfire erupted on the plaza.

The mayor, and other city leaders happened to be walking the plaza that same day talking with the youth. Mayor James was quickly guarded by his security staff when shots rang out.

We caught up with the Mayor at city hall today while he was at a public hearing.

Mayor Sly James/ Kansas City, MO.

("We are in a hearing all day and could go into the evening. I don't expect the curfew issue to come up today. We'll address whether or not there will be a curfew and if so what it would look like after we have heard from police Dept and legislative session on Thursday.")

Tag

We also talked with several city council members today, some who had different views about the curfew issue. We'll have their opinions on the matter later this evening on our newscasts. Reporting live...

lking with the youth. Mayor James was quickly guarded by his security staff when shots rang out.

We caught up with the Mayor at city hall today while he was at a public hearing.

 

Mayor Sly James/ Kansas City, MO.

 

("We are in a hearing all day and could go into the evening. I don't expect the curfew issue to come up today. We'll address whether or not there will be a curfew and if so what it would look like after we have heard from police Dept and legislative session on Thursday.")

 

Tag

We also talked with several city council members today, some who had different views about the curfew issue. We'll have their opinions on the matter later this evening on our newscasts. Reporting live...

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