Council addresses implicit bias training, focuses efforts on high priority areas

The Kansas City Council passed a resolution directing the City Manager to develop and implement a plan to provide implicit bias training to all city employees.

Resolution No. 200510 requests the City Manager to report back to the City Council within 60 days of its passing, including proposed costs and funding sources for the training.

The resolution defines implicit bias as a bias that results from the tendency to process information based on unconscious associations and feelings about a particular social group, even when these are contrary to one’s conscious or declared beliefs and are a product of learned associations and social conditioning that most people are unaware of holding.

“Not only is this a good idea, but it received strong support from staff,” 4th District Councilwoman Katheryn Shields said.

Because of the diverse population of Kansas City that city employees interact with on a daily basis, employees need to be mindful of their implicit biases, according to the resolution.

The training would include education on unconscious thoughts of race, gender, religion or appearances that affect decision-making processes.

Third District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson introduced this ordinance and two others, citing them as some of the 26 recommendations from KC Blueprint.

Resolution 200552 directs the City Manager to develop a plan to provide internships to certain residents of areas of Kansas City identified by the Health Department as high priority.

Resolution 200558 directs the City Manager to evaluate the coss, implementation and funding sources for a program to provide automatic bulky item pick up within 12 blocks of all kindergarten through 12th-grade school buildings located in the city’s six high priority zip codes with lowest life expectancy as identified by the city’s Health Department.

Earlier this week, the Special Committee for Legal Review recommended the council pass Resolution 200575, which requests that the city manager develop a performance management reporting dashboard of certain policing stats and data and requesting that the KCPD provide certain relevant info to the city manager on a recurring basis.

Third District At-Large Councilman Brandon Ellington asked Lucas why this request would be made through the council rather than the mayor’s position to mandate it through the Board of Police Commissioners.

Lucas said the department has no objection to sharing the data, as far as he knows, and the data is available, but this would make it more centralized through DataKC, including arrest statistics and violent crime incident locations.

The council took three special actions. The first honored recently deceased Rev. C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis for paving the way during the Civil Rights Movement.

The second recognizes Juneteenth as Independence Day for African Amerans who are descendants of slaves and honoring Makeda Peterson for her leadership of JuneteenthKC to host this annual celebration for Kansas City, Missourians.

The third declares the importance of accessible and affordable healthcare for Missouri residents, especially those with limited access to medical services, as individual health has become an especially important factor for the safety of our fellow citizens. 

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