The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) is preparing for Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.
“We know tomorrow is a huge day for our city and for our country, with elections taking place,” Sgt. Jake Becchina said.
At the forefront of the department’s plan is safety of voters at the polls and on their way to the polls.
“We want the citizens of Kansas City to know that we have plans in place should anything arise out of the ordinary that would require any kind of police intervention or police presence or police enforcement,” Becchina said.
The department will be fully staffed tomorrow, throughout the rest of the week and going forward.
“We are well prepared for any issues that come up as the days go on, any sort of unrest, any sort of contention that occurs in our city, we are well prepared for that,” Becchina said.
There will not be a police presence at polling locations unless they are responding to a citizen or election authority concern.
Becchina noted, however, that citizens may see officers in uniform if they are voting on their way to and from work or on their breaks.
He said they are confident in the city’s ability to safely get to and from polling locations and respect others. The department asks for patience at the polls.
With protests in the city continuing since summer, Becchina said the department has gained lots of experience. He said relationships had been built and progress made.
“We have always handled protests and other large rallies and gatherings in a way that is proactively looking to find a positive outcome and a safe outcome for everybody that’s involved,” Becchina said.
He said the department is committed to ensuring everybody’s First Amendment right, as well as everyone’s right – and duty – to vote.
“I want somebody that’s sitting at home right now that’s thinking, ‘Is it going to be safe for to go out and vote?’ I want them to absolutely know that yes, it will,” Becchina said.
Becchina said KCPD is in contact with federal enforcement agents daily, and they are ready should anything come up.
“I think everybody realizes that tomorrow’s voting day is going to be probably more well attended, probably more people out and about, than we’ve ever seen before,” Becchina said of their planning ahead.
The department’s election liaison confirmed there have been no calls for police or reports of voter intimidation during absentee voting, which has been going on for weeks.
“The election authorities, the election board, are the ones that are administering to and handling all the activities at their voting locations, so they would ultimately be the first ones that would summon us if they have any issues that do come up,” Becchina said.
KCPD officers have a good understanding of the appropriate conduct when it comes to politics, Becchina said.
Polls will open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. More information can be found at KCEB.org.