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Tue July 29, 2008
Verbal Guns Loaded For Aerial Dogfight: KCI
Kansas City, Mo. – In advance of Wednesday's Aviation committee meeting, the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners heard how the current KCI police aren't really police officers at all; rather, they're glorified security guards who just happen to look like commissioned officers.
Kansas City Chief Jim Corwin laid out the benefits of a merger or an outright takeover. According to Corwin, "Having a district station using what's in place now would save taxpayers $25 million against cost of building a station for the Northwest quadrant." Corwin also says communication between the two departments are poor or worse, and the city would be in the lurch if there was a terrorist attack.
Police Commissioner Karl Zobrist wondered what the airlines would think of a takeover. Zobrist argues that the airlines like the 30 cents a passenger fee for security "and they find that level of payment to be relatively acceptable. And you know, if we can do a better job and its gonna cost them another 20 percent. I think we're gonna have some real opposition from them."
In the opposing cockpit sits City Manager Wayne Cauthen. Aviation managers and some city council members are also on his side for the status quo.
Police board members are told the current contract for a private police force is illegal as worked out in 1994 and 1999. Police commissioners suggest the city is hardly blameless since it signed the operating agreements.