February 16, 2021 Meeting

Publish Date 03/01/2021

A meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri was held on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, in the Community Room at Police Headquarters, 1125 Locust Street, Kansas City.

 

PRESENT:

Commissioner Don Wagner, President

Commissioner Cathy Dean, Treasurer

Commissioner Nathan Garrett, Member

Mayor Quinton Lucas, Member

            Mr. David V. Kenner, Secretary/Attorney

Richard C. Smith, Chief of Police

ABSENT:

Commissioner Mark Tolbert, Vice President

 

This meeting was called to order at 9:35 a.m. by Commissioner Wagner.  Commissioner Tolbert had an excused absence. Commissioner Wagner led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Commissioner Dean provided the invocation. 

  1. Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee. Councilwoman Kathryn Shields and Councilwoman Heather Hall could not attend the meeting due to power outages.
  2. Getting to the Heart of the Matter. Pastor Darron Edwards joined the meeting via video conference.  Pastor Edwards spoke about Getting to the Heart of the Matter, a partnership of local churches and KCPD joining together to establish trust and reduce violence within the community.   Pastor Edwards explained that in the early months of 2021, Getting to the Heart of the Matter will begin meeting virtually with neighborhood associations.  He also spoke about Diversity While Wearing Blue events to show the public that the police look like them and are a part of their community.  Pastor Edwards advised that Getting to the Heart of the Matter is seeking funding for neighborhood initiatives, creation of a website, and a youth development program.  During the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis beginning on March 8, Getting to the Heart of the Matter will be working to keep peace in the community.
  3. Blue Cross Blue Shield Benefits Renewal. Matt Tritz, Vice President and Producer at Lockton Companies, presented an update on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Benefits Renewal package.  Mr. Tritz explained that Blue KC’s 2021 medical renewal projection called for a 21 percent increase to current premiums; however the initial renewal released by Blue KC was a 14.3 percent increase, $5.4 million, to current premium.  Lockton was able to negotiate savings from the Blue KC renewal – an 8.6 percent increase, $3.2 million, to current premiums. 

            The 2021 medical recommendations by the Chief-appointed Benefit Committee included: 1) renewal with Blue KC with a change in funding to a traditional fully-insured contract, 2) prescription drug formulary change, 3) slight plan design change to PPO and HMO plans, no impact to grandfathered status, 4) removal of $100,000 Wellness Fund, and 5) increase to current premiums with 2021 recommended changes is 4.06 percent, or $1.5 million.

            Blue KC’s 2021 initial dental renewal released by Blue KC was a rate hold (no increase or decrease) to current premiums.  Lockton was able to negotiate savings from the Blue KC renewal – a 0.8 percent decrease, $14,000, to current premiums.

            The 2021 dental recommendations by the Chief-appointed Benefit Committee included: 1) renewal with Blue KC with a change in funding to a traditional fully-insured contract, 2) plan design changes, and 3) decrease to current premiums with 2021 recommended changes is 7.7 percent, or $128,000.

            A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to approve the Blue Cross Blue Shield Benefits Renewal as presented.  The vote was 4-0 in favor. 

  1. Chief of Police Richard C. Smith. Chief Richard Smith advised that Deputy Chief Mark Francisco will provide an update on the homicide trends for the last four months.  He advised that Deputy Chief Karen True will provide an update on the Communications Unit switch from 8-hour to 10-hour shifts.  He also advised that Acting Deputy Chief Greg Dull will have two policies, for discussion only, during his presentation.
  2. Public Comments. Morgan Rainey, a local realtor, expressed his appreciation for KCPD and Chief Smith.  He advised that, in the real estate business, police presence in the neighborhood is always a positive factor.  He explained that whether it be an officer living next door or seeing one on frequent patrol in the area, having police in neighborhoods eases a homeowner’s mind.  He also expressed that there are numerous supporters of the police, and he wants that message to be heard.  Mr. Rainey thanked the Department and its members for their hard work, accountability, and professionalism.    
  3. Approval of minutes. A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to approve the minutes of the open meeting on January 12, 2021.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.
  4. Executive Services Bureau. Deputy Chief Karen True presented the following items for Board approval:
  5. Budget Transfers for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. A memorandum dated February

3, 2021, was presented to recommend approval of budget transfers.  This budget transfer will affect the General Fund, Police Drug Enforcement Fund, Police Grants Fund, Special Services Special Revenue Fund, and the Grants Special Revenue Fund.

            A motion was made by Commissioner Garrett, with a second by Commissioner Dean, to approve the budget transfers as presented.  The vote was 4-0 in favor. 

  1. Audit Services RFP #2019-5. A memorandum dated January 26, 2021, was

presented to recommend the approval of a one-year contract renewal with Cochran Head Vick & Co., P.C., for auditing services at an anticipated expenditure of $74,920.00.  This is the second renewal of four optional one-year renewals. 

            A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Commissioner Garrett, to approve the one-year contract renewal with Cochran Head Vick & Co., P.C. for auditing services at an anticipated expenditure of $74,920.00.  The vote was 4-0 in favor. 

  1. Department Wireless Service.  A memorandum dated February 1, 2021, was presented to recommend the approval of a contract renewal with the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) for wireless services.  The renewal period will run from March 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022, and will cover cell phones and air cards.  The anticipated cost for renewal is $726,490.92.

            A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to approve the wireless services contract renewal with NASPO at an anticipated expenditure of $726,490.92.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.

  1. Renewal of Bid #2020-2, Ballistic Protection Vests.  A memorandum dated January 19, 2021, was presented to recommend a one-year contract renewal with Galls LLC, for ballistic protection vests at an anticipated expenditure of $350,612.15.  This is the first renewal of four optional one-year renewals.  There was a one percent increase from the original contract due to the increase in manufacturer’s expenses. 

            A motion was made by Commissioner Garrett, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to approve a one-year contract renewal with Galls LLC, for ballistic protection vests at an anticipated expenditure of $350,612.15.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.

            Deputy Chief True provided an update on the Communications Unit.  She advised that current staffing of the Unit is 104, leaving only two vacant positions.  The Unit shifted from an 8-hour work plan to a 10-hour work plan on January 24, 2021.  This change has already improved the morale in the Unit because members aren’t having to work as much mandatory overtime.  This also provides better shift coverage resulting in shorter hold times.

Deputy Chief True shared comments she’s received from various Communications personnel about the positive change in the Unit.  Chief Smith thanked Commissioner Dean for her research and efforts to make this change.  Commissioner Dean advised that she will be back to visit with Communications Unit members once COVID-19 numbers decrease.  The Communications Unit is currently closed to everyone except the members that work within the Unit, to reduce potential spread of COVID-19. 

Chief Smith shared the importance of the mental health of the Communications Unit members.  He explained that this past week, a call taker was on the phone with a homicide victim at the time they died.  The environment can be very stressful and taxing on the members, so it’s important to get them the resources they need to function in that work environment. 

  1. Professional Development and Research Bureau. Acting Deputy Chief Gregory Dull presented the Academy Class Summary for February 2021.  The 170th Entrant Officer Class (EOC) consists of six regional recruits and one KCPD recruit.  The 170th EOC is scheduled to graduate on Thursday, February 18, 2021.  The 171st EOC is an outside agency class; there are no KCPD recruits in the class due to the current hiring freeze.  They will graduate on July 8, 2021.    

            Acting Deputy Chief Dull provided an update on the Youth Services Unit and the Police Athletic League (PAL).  In January 2021, 661 youth attended activities at the PAL Center.  PAL Stakeholders are looking to expand PAL in the South Patrol Division with activities on Friday nights.  PAL received a grant award in the amount of $131,000 for the expansion. 

            Acting Deputy Chief Dull presented two policies for discussion only.  The first policy is Project #1322, Internally Recorded Digital Media Records.  Commissioner Dean asked why the policy isn’t named Body-Worn Cameras (BWC).  Acting Deputy Chief Dull explained that in-car dash cameras and Department facility cameras are included in this policy in addition to body-worn cameras. 

            The Board discussed language in Annex A, D. Operating Guidelines for BWC, 3.  Commissioner Dean requested that the policy should be changed from “members should activate the BWC” to “members will activate the BWC.”  Mayor Lucas added that the policy should state that members will activate their BWC in any contact with the public. 

            Major Paul Luster advised that body-worn cameras have been deployed in three divisions, and the Patrol Division should be fully outfitted by mid-March 2021.  The Board then discussed retention periods of non-evidentiary videos.  Chief Smith explained that the policy follows the Department of Justice’s recommendations for best practices.  Video concerning a crime or complaint is automatically held.  For non-evidentiary videos the median average storage for comparable departments is 120 days; KCPD does 180 days right now.

            In response to a question about recording in schools, Chief Smith explained that School Resource Officers would not record daily because of juveniles being recorded in the schools.

            Acting Deputy Chief Dull presented Project #1323, First Amendment-Protected Activities policy, for discussion only.  Mayor Lucas commended the Department for their work on crafting this strong policy.  This policy will be presented for Board approval at an upcoming meeting.

Acting Deputy Chief Dull presented the following items for the consent agenda:

  1. Project #1295: Auxiliary Service Volunteer Program
  2. Project #1320: Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct

            A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Commissioner Garrett, to approve Project #1295, as presented.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.  

            A motion was made by Commissioner Garrett, with a second by Commissioner Dean, to approve Project #1320, as presented.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.

  1. Investigations Bureau. Deputy Chief Mark Francisco presented the Investigations Bureau report for January 2021.  He advised that to-date in 2021, there have been 16 homicides, compared to 21 at this time last year.  There were 353 cases presented to the prosecutor in January 2021, and charges were filed on 95 cases.  Deputy Chief Francisco advised that he will provide an in-depth report next month regarding cases presented and filed to area prosecutors.  This will provide insight on the status of cases after they are given to the prosecutor offices.  Mayor Lucas requested a comparison of prosecutions vs. police yellow sheets for comparable cities.

There were 34 non-fatal shootings in January 2021, compared to 50 in January 2020.  There have been 12 non-fatal shootings in February 2021.    Deputy Chief Francisco advised there were 34 drive by shootings in January 2021, compared to 35 in January 2020.  Of the 34 drive by shootings in January 2021, 104 victims were identified; 15 of the victims sustained injuries.  There were 166 firearms recovered Department-wide in January 2021, compared to 210 in January 2020.

Deputy Chief Francisco advised that homicide trends in Kansas City have decreased since Operation LeGend began.  The weekly shoot reviews have also proven to assist with investigations.  The Department saw a 22 percent decrease in homicides over the last four months of 2020, due to the 200 FBI agents and analysts that were called in to assist KCPD.  Also, the NIBRS clearance rate is at 73 percent, compared to 59 percent in 2019.  The national average clearance rate is 61 percent.  Nationally, there was a 34% increase in homicides in 2020.

  1. Administration Bureau. Acting Deputy Chief Mike Hicks presented the February 2021 Crime Lab Report.  He advised that Crime Lab backlog is trending very favorably, and was drastically reduced over the year.  The Lab is currently down 11 members; however, the DNA Section just received one grant-funded position.  Acting Deputy Chief Hicks advised that the battery project at the Property & Evidence Warehouse is going well.  Batteries are being stored away from all other evidence in a fire-suppression room.   

Acting Deputy Chief Hicks presented the Human Resources Personnel Summary dated February 2, 2021.  For this time period, Department strength is 1,278 sworn law enforcement personnel.  Budgeted strength for law enforcement personnel is 1,369, leaving 91 vacant positions.  For this time period, Department strength for career civilians is 546; budgeted strength for career civilians is 608, leaving 62 vacancies.  Acting Deputy Chief Hicks advised that the Department anticipates losing additional members due to retirement in the coming months.  Due to the current hiring freeze, the Department cannot fill any vacancies. 

  1. Patrol Bureau. Deputy Chief Karl Oakman spoke about recent community events throughout the patrol divisions.  Commissioner Garrett thanked Deputy Chief Oakman for sharing these positive stories, and stressed the importance of showing the good that the Department is doing.

Deputy Chief Oakman presented the Monthly Crime Summary for December 2020.  He noted that response times remain consistent to 2020 response times, but are down 2019 and from previous years.  The average response time is 6.87 minutes.  He explained that response times depend on adequate staffing levels.  With 40+ members down in Patrol and no relief in sight, response times will increase. 

Deputy Chief Oakman presented the Traffic Summary for the month of January 2021.  Total citations in January 2021 totaled 8,501 compared to 14,352 in January 2020.    The average number of citations per stop in the month of January by Traffic Enforcement Officers was 1.57.  He advised that Parking Control staffing decreased from 16 to eight.  These positions are funded by an entity outside of the Department, so the Department is looking to hire additional personnel for the Parking Control Section.

Deputy Chief Oakman advised that there have been five fatality vehicular accidents to-date in 2021, compared to five at this same time last year.  Of the five fatalities, 60 percent were males and 50 percent were not wearing a seatbelt.  Drug and alcohol were discovered in 20 percent of the fatalities. 

  1. Office of Community Complaints (OCC). Director Merrell Bennekin advised that the 2020 Annual Report will be provided at the end of the quarter, in April 2021.  He advised that improper conduct by member ranked number 1 in complaints, and use of force ranked number 3.  He advised that the OCC’s new website went live on February 1, 2021.  The website allows individuals to file complaints online, and provides real-time tracking of the complaint status.  The website can be found at www.kccommunitycomplaints.org.

            Director Bennekin advised that the I Am King Foundation hosted their 7th Annual Badges & Baseball camp on Saturday, February 6, 2020.  Males between 12-18 years old participated in the event.  Director Bennekin advised that this year there were only 40-50 participants due to COVID-19 restrictions.  The event provided real and difficult conversations between youth and the police, and was a successful event. 

  1. Mayor Quinton Lucas. Mayor Lucas appreciated the public comment and invited Mr. Rainey to share his comments with the City Council.  He advised that the City Council will host three budget hearings and welcomed the public’s participation.  The hearings will be held on February 20, 2021, February 27, 2021, and March 2, 2021.  The hearing on February 20th will begin at 9:00 a.m. via Zoom video conference.  The hearing on February 27th will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Municipal Auditorium.  The hearing on March 2, 2021, will begin at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom video conference.  

            Mayor Lucas advised that the City’s proposed budget envisions a 4.3 percent reduction of KCPD funds.  He advised that most City Departments will see an 11 percent reduction.  The proposal shows KCFD receiving a 12 percent budget increase, partially due to the fire sales tax that passed in the spring of 2020.  Mayor Lucas advised that budget discussions continue with KCPD regarding collaboration efforts and expenses of airport policing. 

            Mayor Lucas introduced Melesa Johnson as the newest member of the Mayor’s Office.  Mayor Lucas advised that Ms. Johnson will assist in building a safer and more equitable Kansas City. 

  1. Commissioner Nathan Garrett. Commissioner Garrett encouraged members of the public to participate in the City’s budget hearings.  He stated that there is no doubt the City is suffering financially, and he thanked Councilwoman Katheryn Shields for the conversations.  Commissioner Garrett expressed his concerns with the Department’s finances as a result of the proposed budget cuts.  He explained that 92 percent of KCPD’s budget is personnel, and the remaining eight percent is used on essential equipment and technology. 

            Commissioner Garrett advised that Kansas City is no place for defunding the police, and said that we will pay a price for these personnel cuts.  He spoke about the two-year lag that occurs between the time someone applies to become a law enforcement officer to the time they graduate the Academy and are out on patrol.   

  1. Commissioner Don Wagner. Commissioner Wagner appreciates Commissioner Garrett’s comments.  He commended the Department for the recent decrease in homicide trends.
  2. Scheduled meetings. The Board of Police Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri has scheduled the following meetings:

 

Special Meeting:

April 20, 2021, 1:00 p.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.  This is an open meeting being held to discuss budgetary items via telephone conference.

 

Regular Meetings:

 

March 23, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

April 27, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

May 11, 2021, 2020, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

June 15, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

July 27, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

August 31, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

September 28, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

October 26, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

November 16, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

December 14, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

 A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Commissioner Garrett, and by vote indicated below, to adjourn its open meeting at 11:47 a.m. and reconvene in closed session as provided in the following resolution.  Following a roll call, the vote was 4-0 in favor.

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, notice of the board meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners was given on October 16, 2020, and

WHEREAS, said notice indicated that the Board of Police Commissioners might go into closed session during said meeting, and

WHEREAS, notice of the closed meeting follows the guidelines of Section 610.020 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Police Commissioners go into closed session during the meeting being held on  Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at KCPD Headquarters, 1125 Locust Street, Kansas City, for the purpose of discussing personnel matters, labor negotiations, and litigation matters.

The following Commissioners were present and voted to go into closed session as follows:         

            Commissioner Don Wagner                                       -           Aye

            Commissioner Cathy Dean                                         -           Aye

            Commissioner Nathan Garrett                                   -           Aye

            Mayor Quinton Lucas                                                 -           Aye

            There being a quorum present and the question of holding a closed session having received an affirmative public vote of at least three (3) members, a closed meeting was held as set forth above.

Below are the votes from the closed session of the Board of Police Commissioners meeting on February 16, 2021:

The Board went into closed session at 11: 58 a.m.  Mayor Lucas left the meeting at 1:27 p.m.

1)         Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Garrett, the Board voted to approve the applications for continued employment of Detective Patrick McKenzie, Master Patrol Officer Ann Malnar, and Sergeant Ward Smith.  The vote was 3-0 in favor.  Following polling, Commissioner Wagner voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, and Commissioner Garrett voted Aye.

2)         Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Garrett, the Board voted to approve the minutes of the closed session of the Board of Police Commissioners on January 12, 2021.  The vote was 3-0 in favor.  Following polling, Commissioner Wagner voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, and Commissioner Garrett voted Aye.

3)         Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Garrett, the Board voted to come out of closed session and adjourn.  The vote was 3-0 in favor.  Following polling, Commissioner Wagner voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, and Commissioner Garrett voted Aye.

The Board adjourned at 1:57 p.m.