By Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
November 19, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) and Jackson County are working together to house prisoners.

The two sides have entered in to a ten-year agreement to house KCPD arrestees and county inmates and detainees at the Jackson County Detention Center and Regional Correctional Center. The approved agreement will save the KCPD and city money in needed upgrades to the current facility on the eighth floor of the Police Department’s headquarters building, by moving the detention facilities to the Jackson County Detention Center. The need for facility improvements is over-due with critical portions of the existing detention facility having not been updated since it opened in 1938, saving the city roughly $5 million in improvements.

In 2009, Jackson County partnered with Kansas City to house municipal inmates and created the Regional Correctional Center. The original agreement was for 150 inmates, with a bump to 175 on the weekends, at a rate $63 per day per inmate or about $3.7 million a year. The new agreement allows housing for up to 175 inmates full-time at a cost of about $3.3 million.

The agreement provides additional beds for city inmates, while reducing the daily rate charged to the city for those beds. The agreement allows Jackson County to house 100 KCPD arrestees at the rate of $52.50 per inmate, per day. Arrestees will have 24-hour medical coverage and other services available to them. The annual cost for these services are $5.2 million and this agreement is for 10 years. Also part of the agreement, the city will provide capital funding for the construction of additional space in the intake area of the Jackson County Detention Center. The one-time city contribution of $970,000 is not new money, but from the KCPD’s budget.

A number of city, police and county officials commented on the partnerships after it was announced. Mayor Sly James said this agreement makes good business sense for Kansas City and will benefit the budgets of our taxpayers in the long run. The mayor added that this collaboration between the Kansas City Police Department and the Jackson County Detention Center is a wonderful example of government agencies working together to increase efficiency.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said he’s pleased that the city and county are nearing the final step in, “truly regionalizing our local corrections with Kansas City and the Kansas City Police Department.” Darryl Forté, Kansas City Police Chief added, he’s also glad to see the agreement come to fruition.

“Few major city police departments nationally continue to run detention operations, and I have been advocating for our department to get out of the jail business since before I was chief,” Forté said. “This will increase officer availability and provide a safe and updated facility for inmates.”

The agreement was approved by the Kansas City City Council, and next moves onto the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners and the Jackson County Legislature. Final approvals for the agreement are expected within the next few weeks.