Protests and calls for change within the Kansas City Police Department has resulted in key policy changes announced today by Mayor Quinton Lucas.
After multiple groups called for the Kansas City Police Department’s reform, Mayor Quinton Lucas has announced several key policy changes within the department. Following a special closed-door meeting of the KCPD Board of Police Commissioners, the mayor announced the following changes in KCPD operational policies”
For officer-involved shootings, KCPD has agreed to reverse its policy of not sending “probable cause statements” to the County Prosecutor with jurisdiction over the location where the shooting occurred. A probable cause statement is a legal justification of the police officer’s actions.
All officer-involved shootings and all major use of force complaints will be sent to an outside enforcement agency, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for independent review.
KCPD will provide the city council weekly updates to inform the public about the department’s ongoing community engagement efforts.
KCPD will review its use of tear gas and other projectiles and determine ways to further restrict their use and to report results of this review to the Board of Police Commissioner within two weeks.
The BOPC will provide a policy update proposal related to tear gas and other projectiles at its next scheduled meeting.
KCPD will make it clear to potential whistleblowers seeing misconduct within KCPD that there is a codified process through which they can report complaints about other officers to the Office of Community Complaints and the BOPC.
“We hope that is at least one step toward addressing our relationship with the public, the public’s ability to get answers more quickly and frankly the city council’s ability to do its important job in funding the police department and knowing that those will be well spent in making the people of Kansas City safer,” said Mayor Lucas in a press conference today.
During a virtual press conference held earlier this week, a community-based coalition of organizations had called for KCPD Chief Richard Smith’s resignation. Included in the announcement of procedural changes was a statement from Lucas that the Chief will continue in his position, despite the call for his resignation.
Although Thursday’s BOPC meeting was a closed session, the next meeting on June 16 at 9:30 a.m. will be open for the public and live-streamed on the Kansas City Missouri Police Department Facebook page.
In another change, announced yesterday, Chief Smith announced the department had received $2.5 million in grant funding that will be used to equip the department’s officers with body cameras, another long-time request from the community.