January 12, 2021 Meeting

Publish Date 02/17/2021

                

MINUTES OF THE

BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS

TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2021

  

A meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri was held on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, in the Community Room at Police Headquarters, 1125 Locust Street, Kansas City.

 

PRESENT:

Commissioner Don Wagner, President

Commissioner Mark Tolbert, Vice 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

 

This meeting was called to order at 9:32 a.m. by Commissioner Wagner.  Commissioner Wagner led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Bishop Tolbert provided the invocation. 

  1. Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee. Councilwoman Kathryn Shields attended the meeting via video conference.  She spoke about a recent Finance Committee meeting and their discussions surrounding body-worn cameras.  Councilwoman Shields inquired about the Department’s body-worn camera policy and retention schedules.  State law requires video to be held for at least 30 days, but Councilwoman Shields believes that is woefully inadequate.  Councilwoman Shields asked the Department to consider extending the retention period.  She also requested the Department to include someone with constitutional rights background on their stakeholders’ committee for body cameras. 

Chief Smith advised that area prosecutors, staff from the City Manager’s Office, and various members of the community were active participants in the body-worn camera stakeholders’ meetings and helped form the body-worn camera policy.  He added that longer retention periods result in higher storage costs.  The Department has discussed 120-day retention periods, but nothing has been finalized yet.  Chief Smith stated that the draft body-worn camera policy will be ready to come to the Board for approval within one to two months. 

Commissioner Garrett added that while there is no firm policy in place yet, the requests by Councilwoman Shields are being considered by the Board.  He added that the body-worn cameras should by used to inspire public confidence in the police and protection for officers.  Commissioner Garrett also spoke about other things to consider when forming the policy, such as constitutional rights, privacy, litigation, and Missouri Sunshine Law.  He thanked Councilwoman Shields for her comments, and advised that the Board welcomes all considerations.

Mayor Lucas thanked Councilwoman Shields for her comments, and expressed the importance of having these public conversations.  Mayor Lucas is thankful for the funding that the Department has received thus far for body cameras; however, he noted that the taxpayers will eventually have to pay for this service as years go by.  Mayor Lucas wants to ensure that the policy and procedures are done correctly and efficiently.  Commissioner Garrett added that this is a fluid and evolving process, and there are a lot of things to take into consideration.

Councilwoman Shields expressed her thanks for the private donations and grant funding.  She, again, expressed the importance of including a constitutional attorney, or an individual with a background in civil rights, to be included in future meetings and policy drafting.  

Councilwoman Shields spoke about the budget process.  She advised that the Finance Committee will receive a report tomorrow on the 2nd quarter close, and should gather an estimate of how funds will look at the end of the fiscal year.  She advised that the City typically has 17 percent in reserves, but has been reduced to 7-8 percent this year.  Councilwoman Shields believes the City underestimated the severity of the financial crisis from the pandemic and under corrected it. 

Councilwoman Shields asked Mayor Lucas to outline his understanding of the future budget and his view of the Department’s role in the process.  Mayor Lucas explained that the Department and City should continue working together to identify as many cost savings as possible.  All collaboration efforts should be considered before making dramatic or extreme cuts.  He believes there will be a significant budget reduction, but a specific percentage amount has not been identified yet.  Mayor Lucas encouraged the Department to continue working closely with City staff for cost savings and collaboration opportunities.

Commissioner Garrett stated he understands the desires of the City to collaborate with the Department for cost savings opportunities, and is open to effective and efficient ideas.  However, he once supported Mayor Sly James and the OneIT project, which has not worked in favor of the Department.  He noted that vendors have not been paid on time by the City, and the agreed upon personnel were not allocated.  Commissioner Garrett advised that he is cautious about proceeding with additional collaboration, as it leads to more discussions regarding local control.  He stated that while he recognizes the financial realities, it is his duty to protect the Department and sovereignty of the Board. 

Councilwoman Shields stated that she does not care who controls the Department, but that the Department needs a body that is in charge and willing to recognize financial realities and responsibility.   Commissioner Garrett stated that if the budget discussions end in a disagreement between the Board and City, it does not mean that the Board is not in control of the Department. 

Mayor Lucas added that no one is trying to hurt the Department or City, but budgetary cuts are the reality of the financial crisis the City is facing.  He stated that the City is working to identify ways to proceed without drastic cuts, with fair results to all City departments.  He advised that all City departments, with the exception of KCPD, have provided an answer on how they could sustain an 11 percent cut.  He also stated that the requested Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget from the Department showed little to no decrease from this year’s budget.  He requested that the Department continue discussions with the City to identify the best solution

  1. Chief of Police Richard C. Smith. Chief Richard Smith welcomed Pastor Darron Edwards to 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.  He discussed the record number of homicides in 2020.  He advised that Getting to the Heart of the Matter ended the year with the creation of a meeting space at Wornall Road Baptist Church for the families of homicide victims.  Many families in attendance commended KCPD for their assistance in their loved ones’ death investigation, and expressed their appreciation for the police. 

Pastor Edwards explained that in 2021, Getting to the Heart of the Matter will focus on engaging with neighborhood associations and area clergy members, to get them involved in this violence prevention partnership.  The message will be, “Hate won’t win!”  The Board thanked Pastor Edwards for his efforts in this initiative.  Due to technical issues, a video from Pastor Edwards will be shared at the end of the meeting.

Chief Smith discussed crime trends and noted that there is some trend in the right direction for violent crime.  Kansas City, Missouri is below the national average in its increase in homicides and above the national average in its clearance rate.

  1. Public Comments. The Board received 13 public comments via email as of 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.  Each email was forwarded to the Board members for their review prior to today’s meeting.  Public comment emails received will be posted on the KCPD website (www.kcpd.org) following today’s meeting.
  2. 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 December 8, 2020.  The vote was 5-0 in favor.
  3. Executive Services Bureau. Deputy Chief Karen True presented the following items for Board approval:
  4. Budget Transfers for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. A memorandum dated January 4,

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

            A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to approve the budget transfers as presented.  The vote was 5-0 in favor. 

  1. Request for Purchase – Body Worn Cameras. A memorandum dated January

4, 2021, was presented to recommend the purchase of 475 Panasonic Mark IV Body-Worn Cameras and peripheral equipment from Turn-Key Mobile, at a cost of $798,995.00.  The funding will come from donations made to the Body-Worn Camera Project.

            Commissioner Tolbert requested the Board hold this item because he has had contact with a representative from Digital Ally, Inc., that has offered one year of free storage.  He requested the Department get into contact with Digital Ally, Inc., to get the details.  Major Paul Luster explained that the RFP bid process was completed over a year ago, and had already been awarded to Turn-Key Mobile. 

            A motion was made by Commissioner Tolbert, with a second by Commissioner Garrett, to approve the purchase of 475 Panasonic Mark IV Body-Worn Cameras and peripheral equipment from Turn-Key Mobile, at a cost of $798,995.00.  The vote was 5-0 in favor. 

            Deputy Chief True provided an update on the Communications Unit.  She advised that current staffing of the Unit is 105, leaving only one vacant position.  The Unit will shift from an 8-hour work plan to a 10-hour work plan on January 24, 2021.  This change is predicted to improve the morale in the Unit because members won’t have to work mandatory overtime.  There will also be more call takers and dispatchers per shift, which will provide better coverage and shorter hold times. 

            Commissioner Dean requested clarification to two questions that the Board received for public comments.  The first question asked if the Department gave employees paid bonuses.  Deputy Chief True advised that the Department does not issue bonuses to any employee.  The second question asked why the Department could not purchase their fleet directly from the manufacturers.  Deputy Chief True explained that a federal regulation prevents anyone from purchasing directly from a manufacturer.  All purchases must be made through a dealership, with the exception of Tesla. 

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

            Acting Deputy Chief Dull provided an update on the Police Athletic League (PAL).  In December 2020, 570 youth attended activities at the PAL Center.  PAL held their Annual Holiday Event.  They provided necessities and gifts to roughly 100 families, with the assistance of $25,000 in donations.

            Due to technical issues with the live-stream, the Board took a recess at 10:52 a.m.  The meeting resumed at 11:04 a.m.  

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

  1. Project 1139: Ambulance Calls and Arrests taken to hospitals
  2. Project 1238: Fiscal Procedures
  3. Project 1249: Jury Duty
  4. Project 1320: Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct
  5. Project 1325: Response to Resistance

            A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to approve Project 1139, as presented.  The vote was 5-0 in favor.  

            A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to approve Project 1238, as presented.  The vote was 5-0 in favor.

A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Commissioner Garrett, to approve Project 1249, as presented.  The vote was 5-0 in favor.

Commissioner Tolbert requested that Project 1320 be sent back for additional work and added language.  Project 1320 will be revised and presented for approval at a later date.

A motion was made by Commissioner Tolbert, with a second by Commissioner Garrett, to approve Project 1325, as presented.  The vote was 5-0 in favor.

Acting Deputy Chief Dull advised that the new First Amendment policy will be on next month’s agenda for consideration.  Mayor Lucas requested that the Research and Development Division include language for unforeseen events, such as incidents like what occurred at the U.S. Capitol last week.

  1. Investigations Bureau. Deputy Chief Mark Francisco presented the Investigations Bureau report for December 2020.  He advised that to-date in 2021, there have been five homicides, compared to six at this time last year.  There were 176 total homicides in 2020.  There were 307 cases presented to the prosecutor in December 2020, and charges were filed on 99 cases.  There were 39 non-fatal shootings in December 2020, compared to 34 in December 2019.  There have been 17 non-fatal shootings in January 2021.    Deputy Chief Francisco advised there were 510 drive by shootings in 2020, compared to 413 in 2019.  There were 30 drive by shootings in December 2020, compared to 30 in December 2019.  Of the 30 drive by shootings in December 2020, 68 victims were identified; 11 of the victims sustained injuries.  There were 138 firearms recovered Department-wide in December 2020, compared to 189 in December 2019; 2,440 total firearms were recovered in 2020, compared to 2,443 in 2019.

            Commissioner Garrett requested that a report be included in future Board books that details all cases submitted for state and federal prosecution and their outcomes.  Mayor Lucas commended the Homicide Unit for their increase in cases solved.  He believes that the staffing decisions to eliminate the Mounted Patrol Section, reallocating officers, and increasing the number of detectives in the Homicide Unit, has proven to be a positive change.

Mayor Lucas inquired about the effect COVID-19 is having on cases being filed.  Deputy Chief Francisco advised that cases are still being submitted for prosecution, but since jury trials are not occurring, many cases are still awaiting a disposition.  He advised that area detention facilities are at capacity, and many offenders are being released and committing additional crimes.  Chief Smith advised that since trials have paused, there are homicide suspects that have been incarcerated for 3-4 years that are still awaiting trial.  He added that the release of dangerous offenders is detrimental to the safety of the City. 

Deputy Chief Francisco presented a PowerPoint from the Midwest HIDTA Executive Board that covered drug statistics during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they compare to pre-COVID-19 statistics. 

  1. Administration Bureau. Acting Deputy Chief Mike Hicks presented the 2020 Year-End Report for the Regional Criminalistics Division.  He advised that Crime Lab backlog is trending very favorably, and was drastically reduced over the year.  The Lab has seen an increase in requests for services from Department entities and outside agencies.  Currently, staffing in the Lab is down one budgeted position and one grant position.  The Lab anticipates losing one additional employee in the near future.  Acting Deputy Chief Hicks commended Director Winer for his leadership and hard work towards major backlog reduction.

Acting Deputy Chief Hicks presented the Human Resources Personnel Summary dated January 6, 2021.  For this time period, Department strength is 1,286 sworn law enforcement personnel.  Budgeted strength for law enforcement personnel is 1,369, leaving 83 vacant positions.  For this time period, Department strength for career civilians is 553; budgeted strength for career civilians is 608, leaving 55 vacancies.  Acting Deputy Chief Hicks advised that the Department anticipates losing an additional eight law enforcement officers, due to retirement, before the end of March 2021.

Acting Deputy Chief Hicks commended the Human Resources Division on managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The staff has done a tremendous job on coordinating testing, vaccination opportunities, and Department procedures throughout the ever changing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

  1. Patrol Bureau. Deputy Chief Karl Oakman spoke about recent community events throughout the patrol divisions.  Deputy Chief Oakman presented the Monthly Crime Summary for November 2020.  He noted that response times for the month increased slightly, but remain better than in previous years.  The average response time is 6.95 minutes. 

Deputy Chief Oakman presented the Traffic Summary for the month of December 2020.  Total citations in December 2020 totaled 7,608 compared to 10,621 in December 2019.  There were 132,417 total traffic citations issued in 2020, compared to 159,516 in 2019.  The average number of citations per stop in the month of December by Traffic Enforcement Officers was 1.44.

Deputy Chief Oakman presented the 2020 Fatality Crash Report.  There were 103 fatality accidents in 2020, compared to 78 in 2019.  In 74 percent of 2020’s fatality accidents, seatbelts were not worn.  Drugs and alcohol were involved in 59 percent of the fatality accidents.  Deputy Chief Oakman advised that speed was a big factor in the majority of 2020’s fatality accidents.  Chief Smith added that he plans to work with “Getting to the Heart of the Matter” on a seatbelt campaign.  Deputy Chief Oakman added that the East Patrol Division leads Kansas City in number of homicides and number of fatality vehicular accidents.  

  1. Office of Community Complaints (OCC). Director Merrell Bennekin joined the meeting via video conference.  He advised that he will discuss end-of-year OCC numbers at the meeting on February 16, 2021.  Director Bennekin stated that the OCC policy revisions are coming to a close, and should be presented for approval at a meeting in the near future.  He also advised that the go-live date for OCC’s new website is February 1, 2021.   

            Director Bennekin advised that the I Am King Foundation will host their 7th Annual Badges & Baseball camp on Saturday, February 6, 2020, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Urban Youth Academy.  Males between 12-18 years old are welcome to attend the event.  Director Bennekin advised that the event is capped at 60 participants; however, this year there will be approximately 40-50 participants due to social distancing efforts. 

  1. Mayor Quinton Lucas. Mayor Lucas expressed his concerns regarding the technology issues faced during the live feed of today’s meeting.  He also requested that the Board open future meetings for live public comment. 

            Mayor Lucas emphasized Deputy Chief Oakman’s comments during his presentation regarding officers’ involvement with community events.  He appreciates officers’ willingness to participate in community events, and believes the efforts improve community relations with the police.  

            Mayor Lucas spoke about COVID-19 vaccination roll outs.  Mayor Lucas advised that roughly 40 percent of the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department (KCFD) has received their vaccinations.  He inquired if the same opportunities were given to KCPD.  Chief Smith advised that one opportunity through Centerpoint Medical Center was given to Department members.  There has not been a state allotment given to KCPD yet.  The Department is exploring additional opportunities through area medical centers.  Mayor Lucas advised that he will continue advocating for additional vaccine opportunities in the Ciy for first responders. 

            Mayor Lucas thanked Chief Smith for his continued efforts and discussions regarding the safety and future of the City.  While there may occasionally be disagreements, they are both working towards the same goal – a safe Kansas City. 

  1. Commissioner Nathan Garrett. Commissioner Garrett thanked Mayor Lucas for his comments, and agreed that he wants to see everyone pulling in the same direction as a unified body.  He expressed that communication is critical, and it’s important to be sincere and transparent even in disagreements. 

            Commissioner Garrett agreed that the Department and Board should identify a way to allow for live public comment.

            Commissioner Garrett spoke about the events that occurred in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, and stated that “violence is no substitute for protest and free speech.”    

  1. Commissioner Don Wagner. Commissioner Wagner regrets the events that occurred in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, and also regrets the effects of the pandemic.  He wishes for a better year in 2021. 
  2. Chief Smith, continued. Chief Smith presented the video from Pastor Edwards that was referenced earlier in the meeting.
  3. Scheduled meetings. The Board of Police Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri has scheduled the following meetings:

 

Regular Meetings:

 

January 12, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.

 

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

 

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.

 

            A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Commissioner Tolbert, and by vote indicated below, to adjourn its open meeting at 12:29 p.m. and reconvene in closed session as provided in the following resolution.  Following a roll call, the vote was 5-0 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, January 12, 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 Mark Tolbert                                       -           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 January 12, 2021:

The Board went into closed session at 12:43 p.m. 

1)         Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Tolbert, the Board voted to grant authority to legal counsel to extend by 120 days the existing memorandum of agreement with Local No. 99 of the Fraternal Order of Police and the existing memorandum of agreement with Local No. 102 of the Fraternal Order of Police.  The vote was 5-0 in favor.  Following polling, Mayor Lucas voted Aye, Commissioner Wagner voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, and Commissioner Garrett voted Aye.

            Mayor Lucas left the meeting at 1:46 p.m.

2)         Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Tolbert, the Board voted to approve the application for continued employment of Reserve Police Officer David Edwards.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.  Following polling, Commissioner Wagner voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, and Commissioner Garrett voted Aye.

3)         Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Tolbert, the Board voted to approve the application for continued employment of Reserve Sergeant Peter Schilling.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.  Following polling, Commissioner Wagner voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, and Commissioner Garrett voted Aye.

4)         Following a motion by Commissioner Tolbert and a second by Commissioner Dean, the Board voted to approve the minutes of the closed session of the Board of Police Commissioners on December 8, 2020.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.  Following polling, Commissioner Wagner voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, and Commissioner Garrett voted Aye.

5)         Following a motion by Commissioner Tolbert and a second by Commissioner Dean, the Board voted to come out of closed session and adjourn.  The vote was 4-0 in favor.  Following polling, Commissioner Wagner voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, and Commissioner Garrett voted Aye.

The Board adjourned at 2:06 p.m.