Kansas City mayor seeking more authority on city police board
KANSAS CITY, Mo (KCTV) -- Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is fighting to get mayors more power within the city’s police board.
“I think it makes a lot of sense,” says Sly James, a former Kansas City Mayor.
From 2011 to 2019 James was in the same position as current Mayor Lucas on the board of police commissioners- just a board member.
“The problem with the whole situation in the first place is that the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri have no control over their police department,” says James.
Mayor Lucas is wanting to change that by adding him and future mayors to the rotation for President over the police board.
Currently, Kansas City mayors are just members of the board. The other members, who are appointed by the Governor of Missouri, are a part of a rotation for assuming the role as President.
James says he respects and appreciates what the police department does for the community, but believes an official elected by the people, such as a mayor, should have a larger role.
“The elected people are responsible for this city, not the police department who is not elected, not a board that is not elected, we are,” says James.
Former Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser also agrees stating, “if you’re going to have a police board, the Mayor should be its president”.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver took on the president role for a period when he was the Mayor of Kansas City, to fill a need.
Officials say the position entails organizing when and where meetings happen, what the agenda is, making rules on public comment periods during those meetings, and more.
“If every single voter in Kansas City decided that the Governor had appointed the wrong people to the board, we couldn’t do anything about it,” says Lora McDonald the Executive Director of More2.
In the past her organization has spoken out and fought against Mayor Lucas and KCPD, but she says this recent request by the mayor, is one she can stand by.
“I think that’s the best maneuver that we can see right now, in terms of ensuring some kind of local voice of voters in our policing,” says McDonald.
Both McDonald and James say they would be surprised if the Mayor’s request was approved.
We reached out to those on the police board for comment but have not heard back.
We also contacted the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police, but they said they wouldn’t be making any comment.
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