A meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri was held on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at Kansas City, Missouri City Hall, Council Chambers, 414 E. 12th Street, Kansas City.
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 9:30 a.m. by Commissioner Wagner. Human Resources Specialist Rosalind Lee led the Pledge of Allegiance. Chaplain Leonard LaGuardia provided the invocation.
Finance and Governance Committee. Councilwoman Heather Hall and
Councilwoman Kathryn Shields attended the meeting on behalf of the City’s Finance and Governance Committee. Councilwoman Shields deferred the Committee’s comments, and introduced Deputy Director Nick Sarpy of the City’s Finance Department.
Mr. Sarpy presented information on potential service consolidation between the City and Department due to the City’s projected budget deficit in Fiscal Year 2021-2022. Mr. Sarpy explained that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City anticipates a $60 million general fund deficit next year. This would mean an 11 percent budget cut across all City departments. He noted that KCPD comprises 45 percent of the required amount, and would need to cut $26.2 million. The Finance Department has reviewed areas of potential overlap of services and savings.
Mr. Sarpy advised that the City Auditor conducted analysis of consolidation options in 2001. The Auditor focused on the areas of Informational Technology, Accounts/Financial Services, Purchasing and Building Maintenance. They recommended starting with Information Technology consolidation, and the OneIT initiative was created. Mr. Sarpy explained that the City and Department should review operations of all divisions/departments to identify ways savings can be achieved, and report back to the Board and City Council.
Mayor Lucas advised that the City will have the final budget by mid-February 2021. Commissioner Garrett thanked Mr. Sarpy for his comments, and advised that everyone should be mindful moving forward. Commissioner Garrett stated that consolidation of departments is a big step towards local control, and he believes that would be a huge mistake for the Department. He expressed serious concern with consolidation, noting the problems surrounding the OneIT initiative. The Department believes that the OneIT initiative has not been successful because the money hasn’t been properly allocated to the Department when requested. Payment to vendors have also been delayed, which could potentially ruin the Department’s relationship with its vendors. Commissioner Tolbert agreed with Commissioner Garrett’s comments.
Executive Services Bureau. Deputy Chief Karen True presented the following items for Board approval:
Budget Transfers for Fiscal Year 2020-21. A memorandum dated
September 18, 2020, was presented to recommend approval of budget transfers. This budget transfer will affect the General Fund, Police Grants Fund, and the Grants Special Revenue Fund.
A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Commissioner Tolbert, to approve the budget transfers as presented. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
Supplemental Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2020-21. A memorandum dated September 21, 2020, was presented to recommend acceptance of City Ordinance 200654 and authorize an increase of $500,000 as a supplemental appropriation from Clay County through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Deputy Chief True advised that the Regional Police Academy and the Shoal Creek Patrol Division are both located in Clay County, and they would be recipients of this money.
A motion was made by Mayor Lucas, with a second by Commissioner Dean, to approve the supplemental appropriations as presented. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
Renewal Bid No. 2017-12, Automotive Tires. A memorandum dated September 3, 2020, was presented to recommend renewal of Bid No. 2017-12 for Automotive Tires through State Avenue Tire & Auto, at an anticipated expenditure of $127,553.00. This vendor agreed to renew the contract with no increase in price and lowering the price per tire on multiple tire styles. This is the third and final renewal period.
Commissioner Tolbert advised that he would like to see this bid awarded to a local vendor. Mayor Lucas advised that all City Departments look to support local businesses; however, the value and costs that some out-of-area vendors offer is unbeatable. Commissioners Garrett and Wagner agreed with Commissioner Tolbert’s comments. Deputy Chief True assured that the Department always looks to local companies for participation in bids, and will continue to do so in the future.
A motion was made by Commissioner Tolbert, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to approve the third and final renewal of Bid No. 2017-12 for Automotive Tires through State Avenue Tire & Auto, at an anticipated expenditure of $127,553.00. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
2020-2021 Traffic Services Grant Awards. A memorandum dated September 15, 2020, was presented to recommend acceptance of five awards from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) Highway Safety and Traffic Division in the amount of $541,668.67. These awards provide funding for overtime, training, and equipment to increase compliance with traffic laws and reduce fatalities related to traffic law violations. These awards are $541,668.67 of Federal funding, with $64,169.96 local match.
A motion was made by Commissioner Tolbert, with a second by Mayor Lucas, to accept the five awards from MODOT Highway Safety and Traffic Division in the amount of $541,668.67. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
2019 Project Safe Neighborhood Subaward. A memorandum dated September 17, 2020, was presented to recommend acceptance of the KC Crime Commission’s 2019 Project Safe Neighborhood Grant in the amount of $161,716.00. This award provides ongoing funding for the employment of a Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC) Analyst and a Gang Squad Analyst for the project period of October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2022.
A motion was made by Mayor Lucas, with a second by Commissioner Dean, to accept the KC Crime Commission’s 2019 Project Safe Neighborhood Grant in the amount of $161,716.00. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
Shotspotter Maintenance Renewal 2020-21. A memorandum dated August 26, 2020, to recommend acceptance of a one-year renewal of maintenance with Shotspotter at a cost of $180,823.00. Shotspotter provides the Department with a web-hosted service within a 3.5 square mile coverage area of when, where, and what of gunshot incidents. Shotspotter is used by the Law Enforcement Resource Center (LERC) for supporting intelligence led policing and comprehensive crime analysis. In addition, alert and mapping information is used to inform responding patrol officers of safe areas of entry into active scenes. In response to a question, Chief Smith advised that after implementation of Shotspotter, violence crime in these areas reduced by 24 percent.
A motion was made by Mayor Lucas, with a second by Commissioner Dean, to approve the one-year renewal of maintenance with Shotspotter at a cost of $180,823.00. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
Missouri Western Interdiction and Narcotics (MOWIN) Task Force 2019-MU-BX-0110. A memorandum dated September 16, 2020, was presented to recommend acceptance of the MOWIN Task Force 2019-MU-BX-0110 subaward in the amount of $515,111.07. This funding provides personnel, overtime, and vehicle leases for the MOWIN Task Forces. This is the 23rd year of funding. This award is $317,994.65 of Federal funding, and $197,116.42 in State funds.
A motion was made by Mayor Lucas, with a second by Commissioner Tolbert, to accept the MOWIN Task Force 2019-MU-BX-0110 subaward in the amount of $515,111.07. 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 98, leaving eight vacant positions. She also advised that Communications Unit personnel are forced to work mandatory overtime due to the staffing shortage.
Chief of Police Richard C. Smith. Chief Richard Smith provided an update on Operation LeGend. He advised that the initiative has concluded, and the Federal agents have returned home. He explained that Operation LeGend was a strategic look into the City’s most violent offenders. He advised that homicides in the City decreased by 18 percent during this time period, and there was an overall reduction in violent crime. Non-fatal shootings decreased by 22 percent, and aggravated assaults decreased by 47 percent.
Chief Smith spoke about proposed budget cuts from the City. He advised that the Department is taking a close look at the potential impacts of an 11 percent, or $26.2 million, budget cut for the Department. He advised that 90 percent of the Department’s budget funds personnel. Approximately 400 positions will be affected by this budget reduction.
Public Comments. The Board heard comments from 16 individuals. Emma Ashton, United for Human Rights, spoke about nationwide tension between the police and citizens they serve. She advised that United for Human Rights offers an educational program that will provide citizens with information on police training and policies to bridge the gap in community policing. Sheri Hall believes that the KCPD should expand their social worker program. Matthew Moore spoke about the need for accountability within the KCPD and its budget. He requested an audit be conducting regarding Department funds. Steve Young, Winifred Jamieson, Gloria B., Jalisa, and Bart Smith called for police reform, defunding of the police, and the termination of Chief Smith. Jami Bailey, Erin S., Nichelle R., Heidi Decker, and Andrea W. expressed their support for KCPD and Chief Smith. Sheryl Ferguson asked the Board a series of questions, and was asked to submit them to the Board in writing to be answered at a later time. An individual spoke about a search warrant conducted by KCPD at the home of Moneica Smith. She expressed concern with the manner in which the search warrant was served. Janae Manley expressed her concerns with KCPD’s Crime Free Multi-Housing Program.
The Board received 400 comments sent by email as of 0700 hours on September 29, 2020. The comments are as follows: Three people demanded the ban on chokeholds, knee holds, and strangleholds, two people demanded justice for Ryan Stokes, Cameron Lamb, Donnie Sanders, and Terrance Bridges, 203 individuals demanded the Board hold a vote and vote YES to terminate Chief Rick Smith at today’s meeting, there were 177 requests to retain Rick Smith as Chief of Police, three individuals offered their support to KCPD personnel, there were two concerns about the recent actions, Facebook posts, and demands by Attorney Stacy Shaw, one individual spoke about growing homicide statistics nationwide, one individual expressed concern about the number of officer-involved shootings and request for alternative less than lethal methods, there was one request to unencrypt routine radio traffic to allow taxpaying citizens and media to monitor air traffic, one individual expressed potential concerns if they City gains local control of the Department, one comment was received regarding the Black Lives Matter murals on the streets of Kansas City, Missouri, three individuals expressed concern with transparency of the Department, and two derogatory comments towards KCPD and BOPC were received. The Board also received a petition from Change.org with 8,022 signatures against the firing of Chief Rick Smith and against local City control. In addition, the BOPC received six voice messages. Five of which demanded the Board to hold a vote and vote YES to terminate Chief Smith. The sixth voicemail suggested the Department install additional cameras on police cruisers that are continuously monitored by dispatch to ensure officer safety.
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 August 25, 2020. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
Professional Development and Research Bureau.Acting Deputy Chief Gregory Dull presented the Academy Class Summary for September 2020. He advised that the 169th Entrant Officer Class graduated on September 10, 2020. There were 17 officers in the class, and they are now completing their break-in process. The 170th Entrant Officer Class began in August, but his class only contains one KCPD recruit that was recycled due to an injury; the rest of the recruits are hired by outside agencies.
Acting Deputy Chief Dull advised that the Police Athletic League (PAL) hosted their annual golf tournament, and raised approximately $60,000. The PAL Center also began an education initiative that is providing the kids with tutoring assistance for their online classwork. The PAL Center has begun a martial arts program, and is averaging 15-20 participants twice a week.
In response to a question from Commissioner Garrett, Acting Deputy Chief Dull advised that the Department has suspended all Academy classes until further notice due to budget cuts. Despite receiving a Federal grant to hire a number of recruits, Deputy Chief True advised that the Department could not hire anyone because there is no funding in place for salaries after graduation. The Department would be forced to lay off these officers following Academy graduation. Chief Smith spoke about the future of Academy staff positions if the Department is not holding recruit classes.
Acting Deputy Chief Dull presented the following items for the consent agenda:
Project 1325: Response to Resistance
Project 1310: Residency Requirements
Project 1306: Americans with Disabilities Act
Project 1327: Post-Employment Health Plan (PEHP)
Commissioner Tolbert requested additional language, including definitions of
de-escalation and use of force, should be included in the Response to Resistance policy. Acting Deputy Chief Dull invited Commissioner Tolbert to a meeting to discuss his additions to the policy. This policy will be voted on at a later day.
A motion was made by Commissioner Tolbert, with a second by Commissioner Dean, to approve Project 1310: Residency Requirements, as presented. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Commissioner Tolbert, to approve Project 1306: Americans with Disabilities Act, as presented. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
In response to a question from Commissioner Dean, the Board was advised that the Department does not pay into the Post-Employment Health Plan. Employees are responsible for this funding. A motion was made by Commissioner Dean, with a second by Commissioner Tolbert, to approve Project 1327: Post Employment Health Plan (PEHP), as presented. The vote was 5-0 in favor.
Investigations Bureau. Major Gregory Volker spoke for Deputy Chief Mark Francisco in his absence. Major Volker presented the Investigations Bureau report for August 2020. He advised that 2020 has been a very violent year in Kansas City. To-date in 2020, there have been 145 homicides, compared to 114 at this time last year; there were 99 homicides for this same time frame in 2018, 112 in 2017, and 93 in 2016. There were 54 non-fatal shootings in August 2020, compared to 50 in August 2019. There have been an additional 38 living victims in September 2020. Major Volker advised there have been 348 drive by shootings year-to-date 2020, compared to 302 at this time last year. There were 47 drive by shootings in August 2020, compared to 36 in August 2019. Of the 47 drive by shootings in August 2020, 110 victims were identified; 19 of the victims sustained injuries. There were 204 firearms recovered Department-wide in August 2020, compared to 234 in August 2019; 1,669 firearms have been recovered year-to-date 2020, compared to 1,617 for the same time frame in 2019.
Administration Bureau. Deputy Chief Shawn Wadle presented the Regional Criminalistics Division Report for September 2020. He advised that Crime Lab backlog is trending favorably. The Lab is currently down five staff members; two of the vacant positions are in Crime Scene Investigations, two are in Trace, and one is in Latent Prints. Deputy Chief Wadle advised that Director Kevin Winer is taking initiative to cross-train the Lab personnel in effort to reduce the additional backlog.
Deputy Chief Wadle presented the Human Resources Personnel Summary dated August 28, 2020. For this time period, Department strength is 1,331 sworn law enforcement personnel. Budgeted strength for law enforcement personnel is 1,375, leaving 44 vacant positions. For this time period, Department strength for career civilians is 562; budgeted strength for career civilians is 602. Deputy Chief Wadle advised that personnel numbers will reduce dramatically with upcoming retirements, resignations, and the current hiring freeze.
Patrol Bureau. Deputy Chief Karl Oakman spoke about recent community events throughout the patrol divisions. Deputy Chief Oakman presented the Monthly Crime Summary for July 2020. Deputy Chief Oakman noted the decrease of homicides and aggravated assaults, resulting in an overall decrease of violent crime. Response times remain approximately one minute lower than response times in 2018 and 2019. Total calls for service have slightly increased. Deputy Chief Oakman explained that response times will increase drastically if vacant police officer positions are not filled in the upcoming budget year.
The 911 Call Center has received 645,332 calls year-to-date, and 273,171 of them were handled by alternative means. Deputy Chief Oakman explained that all calls for services are answered, but all calls are screened and dispatched by priority. Calls that involved immediate threat or danger to human life take precedent over calls with lower priority, such as property crimes. Commissioner Tolbert stated that when someone calls 911, it is because they are experiencing or have experienced an incident that was traumatic for them. He asked that the Department prepare an information publicity piece to raise awareness regarding the triage and priority of calls, so that community members understand how their call for service will be handled.
Deputy Chief Oakman presented the Traffic Summary for the month of August 2020. Total citations in August 2020 totaled 12,166 compared to 14,200 in August 2019. There have been 92,562 citations have been issued year-to-date 2020. The average number of citations per stop in the month of August by Traffic Enforcement Officers was 1.37.
There have been 71 fatality accidents to-date 2020, compared to 51 at this time last year. Deputy Chief Oakman advised that there has been an increase in fatal accidents involving pedestrians. He noted that alcohol and drugs have contributed to 61 percent of the fatalities this year.
Commissioner Garrett thanked Deputy Chief Oakman for his leadership, significant accountability, and open communication with the Board. He explained that Deputy Chief Oakman has shown great judgement through difficult times and throughout the various positions he has held as a commander.
Office of the General Counsel. General Counsel Jenny Atterbury presented the Private Officer Licensing Unit Monthly Report for August 2020. In the month of August, there were 31 private officer license suspensions, two license denials, and no license revocations.
Ms. Atterbury presented the following Private Officer License appeal:
Private Officer License Appeal, KCCT/Kevin C. Schnell. A memorandum dated September 16, 2020, was presented to recommend the denial of the unarmed private security license of KCCT and Mr. Kevin Schnell. The basis of the denial is outlined in Title 17 of the Code of State Regulations, Section 10-2.050(3)(P), which stipulates an applicant may be denied if they have “been terminated from or resigned under investigation or threat of discharge from the department shall make an individual ineligible for a license.” Mr. Schnell was terminated from the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department in 2007. Mr. Schnell was then employed by the Buckner Police Department, Belton Police Department, and Independence Police Department. He left all of those positions on good terms.
Mr. Schnell was present at the meeting and addressed the Board. The Board was made aware that Mr. Schnell hadn’t completed all necessary paperwork to the Private Officer Licensing Unit during the application process. The Board requested that Mr. Schnell submit the additional paperwork, and the Board will consider his appeal at the meeting on October 27, 2020.
Office of Community Complaints. Director Merrell Bennekin presented the OCC Monthly Report for August 2020. He explained that in-person mediations have been suspended indefinitely due to the pandemic. The OCC is researching alternative options, such as virtual mediations and conflict-resolution programs.
Director Bennekin advised that the new OCC website is nearing completion, and he will prepare a mock demonstration of the website at an upcoming Board meeting. He thanked Deputy Chief Karen True and Major Paul Luster for their assistance in securing funding for the new website.
Director Bennekin presented a memorandum dated September 13, 2020, that gave history-based explanations in response to the form and function of the complaint process. Director Bennekin advised that he is available to discuss any questions the Board may have, and is responsive to any policy changes to Board sees fit.
Mayor Quinton Lucas. Mayor Lucas spoke about the search for the new City Manager. He believes the position will be filled within the first quarter of 2021. He commended Interim City Manager Ernest Rouse for his leadership during this process.
Mayor Lucas commended Major Volker for the informative weekly shoot review meetings, and believes it is an important effort that KCPD is making with its partners to address violent crime in the City. He explained that all partners working together long-term to address issues within the community is a step in the right direction.
Commissioner Nathan Garrett. Commissioner Garrett spoke about the current strain on the Department’s hiring and recruitment process. He commended Major Volker for his efforts towards fighting violent crime in the City, his leadership, and his day-to-day relationship with the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Commissioner Garrett reiterated his previous comments about collaboration of services with the City, and spoke about the historically-positive working relationship that the Department holds with the City. He noted that the members of the City Council are good people, but he does not believe that politics belong in policing.
Commissioner Mark Tolbert. Commissioner Tolbert requested Chief Smith to prepare a statement for next month’s meeting that answers the following questions: 1) Does KCPD serve no-knock search warrants?, 2) Does KCPD require de-escalation training?, and 3) What is KCPD’s policy regarding knee holds and chokeholds?
Scheduled meetings.The Board of Police Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri has scheduled the following meetings:
October 27, 2020, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.
November 10, 2020, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.
December 8, 2020, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.
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 6, 2021, 9:30 a.m., at KCPD Headquarters, Community Room, 1125 Locust, Kansas City.
May 4, 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 Tolbert, with a second by Mayor Lucas, and by vote indicated below, to adjourn its open meeting at 12:06 p.m. and reconvene in closed session as provided in the following resolution. Following a roll call, the vote was 5-0 in favor.
WHEREAS, notice of the board meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners was given on February 19, 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, September 29, 2020, 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 September 29, 2020:
The Board went into closed session at 12:32 p.m.
1) Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Tolbert, the Board voted to approve the continued employment of Reserve Sergeant Jon Jacobson, Reserve Police Officer Lance Stabler, and Police Officer Joe Smith. The vote was 5-0 in favor. Following polling, Mayor Lucas voted Aye, Commissioner Garrett voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, and Commissioner Wagner voted Aye.
Mayor Lucas left the meeting at 2:09 p.m.
2) Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Garrett, the Board voted to approve the Non-Duty Disability Retirement of xxxx [Name redacted for privacy and confidentiality reasons]. The vote was 4-0 in favor. Following polling, Commissioner Garrett voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, and Commissioner Wagner voted Aye.
3) Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Tolbert, the Board voted to approve the applications to obtain the VEBA Trust Employment Identification Number for a Post-Employment Health Plan with Nationwide Trust Company. The vote was 4-0 in favor. Commissioner Garrett voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, and Commissioner Wagner voted Aye.
4) Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Tolbert, the Board voted to approve the five-year lease extension of a Multi-Jurisdictional Covert Facility for a total overall cost of $2,015,793.64. The lease will begin on August 8, 2021, and will go through July 31, 2026. The vote was 4-0 in favor. Following polling, Commissioner Garrett voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, and Commissioner Wagner voted Aye.
5) Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Tolbert, the Board voted to approve the minutes of the closed session of the Board of Police Commissioners on August 25, 2020. The vote was 4-0 in favor. Following polling, Commissioner Garrett voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, and Commissioner Wagner voted Aye.
6) Following a motion by Commissioner Dean and a second by Commissioner Tolbert, the Board voted to come out of closed session and adjourn. The vote was 4-0 in favor. Following polling, Commissioner Garrett voted Aye, Commissioner Dean voted Aye, Commissioner Tolbert voted Aye, and Commissioner Wagner voted Aye.