By JOE JAROSZ
March 19, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Two former Kansas City, Mo., public safety leaders have endorsed Crispin Rea for the third district at-large city council race. Rea, currently the vice chair of the Kansas City School Board announced his candidacy this past February.
Former KCPD Chief Jim Corwin said Rea has his endorsement because of his track record of listening to “stakeholders, finding common ground and weighing competing interests to find a solution that works.” Former Deputy Chief Vincent Ortega said he’s endorsing Rea because he wants to make the neighborhood cleaner and safer, something he will do by listening to the needs and priorities of the neighborhoods. Ortega joined the KCPD in 1976 and Corwin joined in 1979 before retiring in 2006 and 2001, respectively.
“While our police force continues to fight tirelessly to decrease our murder rate and make our city safer, our success depends on the input, buy-in, and support of the entire city-neighborhood and political leaders alike,” Corwin said.
“One of the keys to effective community policing and crime prevention is neighborhood support. With over 17,350 abandoned houses, growing blight, and continual divestment in the city’s core, our neighborhoods need a leader who will listen to them and prioritize their plans, hopes, and interests,” Ortega said.
In a press release, Rea said the community is “besieged by crime, literally, making Kansas City one of the most dangerous cities in this country.” The problem, he added, needs to be addressed not with rhetoric but with urgency, broad community coalitions and research-based solutions.
Kansas City has the second highest black homicide rate in the country at two times the national average and in 2012, had the fifth highest homicide rate in the entire nation. Rea said he is determined to make the murder and crime “crisis” defining issues of his campaign.
“We cannot afford to merely bemoan the problem, point fingers, and pretend that solving the symptoms of violent crime will do anything to move us forward. While the City and KCPD are doing their best, we need all hands on deck in a constructive, creative way. We need to be tough on the causes of crime,” Rea said.
Rea added that while he is proud to get the support of two former KCPD members, he accepts the endorsements with the charge to serve those most likely to “fall prey to this city’s cycle of violence.”
With their endorsements, Corwin and Ortega join a group of leaders who have given their support to Rea, including: Rep. Bonnaye Mims, former Northland councilman Bill Skaggs, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president Carlos Gomez and KCPS board president Airick West.