At a press conference this afternoon, on the South steps of City Hall, Kansas city mayor Quinton Lucas proposed a ballot initiative to appear on the November 3rd ballot that would establish local control of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department.
Kansas City is one of the only cities in the United States and the only city in the state of Missouri to have a state controlled Police Department.
The ballot initiative would establish a city council and mayor lead police board that would govern police operations.
The city’s police department has been controlled by a state-appointed board of directors since 1934, during the closing years of the Tom Pendergast era.
The ballot language would read as follows:
Shall the City of Kansas City, Missouri establish as a City legislative priority in the Missouri General Assembly the pursuit of a state legislative or referendum action that will return Mayor and City Council-led local control to the Kansas City Police Department rather than the current control of the Kansas City Police Department by a committee comprised of four members appointed by the Governor of Missouri and an additional position held by the Mayor of Kansas City?
“We have heard the community’s demands for an accelerated effort to explore the issue of local control—and today we’re taking decisive action to provide our electorate an opportunity to weigh in on this issue,” said Mayor Lucas.
Lucas was flanked at today’s press event by members of the faith community who have long fought for local control of the police department.
Notably absent from those behind the Mayor today were members of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department.
The ordinance will be introduced in this afternoon’s Council Legislative Session.
During the closing moments of today’s press conference, Mayor Lucas also addressed the possibility of requiring masks to be worn in public within the city limits of Kansas City Missouri in response to an uptick of COVID-19 cases. He indicated that he will refer to Kansas City Missouri health department director Rex Archer for more information and guidance and will announce a decision by this coming Monday.