Kansas City Police Department

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Last week, in an interview with The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri Police Chief Darryl Forté blamed recent police shootings of young black men on what he called “unreasonable fear” by some officers and “institutional racism” in law enforcement. 

The comments drew the ire of both the Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri police unions.

KCK Fraternal Order of Police President Scott Kirkpatrick posted a long open letter on the union's Facebook Page. In it he calls Forté's remarks "misguided, ridiculous and uninformed," and says the chief had "torn ...healing wounds wide open," in reference to the recent shooting death of two of their colleagues.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Amidst rising tensions between law enforcement and communities of color across the nation, Black Lives Matter supporters joined forces with the Wichita Police for a cookout last weekend. What was originally planned as a protest turned into a picnic, where over 1,000 community members came together for food and dance.

SURJ KC / Facebook

Alice Chamberlain admits it's often uncomfortable for white people to talk about prejudice, white privilege and institutional racism.

That's why she's excited. 

On Monday, more than 300 people — most of them white, like her  — showed up at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church in Kansas City to have a conversation about just those topics. 

Last weekend in Wichita, a peaceful protest in support of Black Lives Matter turned into a community picnic with the police. How are we making similar efforts here in Kansas City?

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A few months ago, the Squad of Sisters — a local group dedicated to combating sexual violence — released a zine called "Worried About Westport." The photocopied booklet chronicles personal stories of sexual assault in the area. Westport is one of the most popular nightlife destinations in Kansas City, but is it safe? 

We ask, what do reports of sexual assault and rape throughout the city tell us about our culture, and what can we do to make our community safer?

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker doesn’t think victims and first responders should lose their right to privacy just because they’re witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Baker filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday firing back at a St. Louis judge who in several cases has ordered the City Circuit Attorney there to disclose the home addresses of crime victims and law enforcement officers scheduled to testify in court.

“We're not trying to hide them,” Baker says. “But what we are trying to do is balance their privacy right against our system of justice.”

Since becoming a Kansas City, Missouri police officer in the 1950s, Alvin Brooks has spent a lifetime working to reduce crime and injustice in his city. Even as we look back at all he’s already done, we ask the equal rights activist what Kansas City still needs to do.

On Tuesday, Alvin Brooks was awarded at lifetime achievement award from the South Kansas City Alliance. He is also this year's recipient of the Truman Public Service Award.

KC Police

An audit released this week concludes that with tight budgets and unfilled officer positions, the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department should re-evaluate its policies on allowing officers to take police vehicles home with them in their off-duty hours.

The police do not agree.

The audit found that 45 percent of the police fleet is assigned for take-home with no tracking of mileage or how they are used after duty hours.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Speaking Monday at an event to raise awareness about child abuse, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté brought a prop to prove his point.

“This is an extension cord,” Forté says. “People actually get so-called ‘disciplined’ with extension cords. Some of the people I was raised with, they still think it’s OK.”

That’s a problem, Forté says. When abuse is normalized, kids who were abused grow up to be abusers.

“If I beat you with this and I do other things with this over and over again, I can predict the outcome,” says Forté. “I can write the end of that story.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City Council committee ended in a shouting match Wednesday after about 30 people showed up to protest police brutality.

Melissa Stiehler told the Neighborhood and Public Safety Committee police used excessive force to disperse a crowd that gathered outside the Midland Theater March 12 to protest Donald Trump. She said she was pepper sprayed across the chest.

“The way that not only the Kansas City police acted at the Trump rally but the response from our mayor and Chief Forte sets a really dangerous precedent,” Stiehler said.

KMBC

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté is starting the year with his hands full, after another streak of violent crime.

So far, the city has seen eight homicides in the first ten days of January. This, following a particularly deadly end of 2015.

“I’ve been concerned (about violence) my entire life as a young male growing up in Kansas City," Forté told host Steve Kraske on Up to Date. "I stay awake at night I think, ‘Darryl what else can you do?’” 

KCPD

UPDATE (11:20 a.m.): Police confirm that Gavin Perez-Settgast was found Thursday morning safe at a resident's home in Independence. 

Kansas City Police are asking for the public's help Thursday in searching for an 11-year old boy who was last seen in north Kansas City Wednesday night. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR

About 50 people rallied outside the Kansas City Police Department’s new East Patrol Campus on Monday to protest fatal shootings by police.

“We did not know there had been 47 individuals killed, but we knew that there had been more than Ryan Stokes, Javon Hawkins and Tyrone Holman,” says Britt Coleman, spokeswoman for social justice group One Struggle KC.

Tom Porto

A 24-year-old Mexican American man has filed an excessive force lawsuit against three Kansas City police officers, alleging assault, battery and conspiracy during an arrest caught on police dash-cam video.

The Kansas City Police Department is investigating the May 2, 2014, arrest of Manuel Palacio as a criminal case of police misconduct.  

The nearly 19-minute video shows a surprised Palacio, who was walking down Independence Ave., at Cypress, being rammed with a police cruiser and knocked to the ground.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Police Department announced Thursday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will investigate allegations of excessive force and other civil rights violations by police.

The KCPD and the Jackson County Prosecutor's office signed the unique agreement with the Western District United States Attorney's office and the FBI in September. It allows the FBI to decide whether complaints of misconduct by police officers warrant civil rights investigations.

U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson said she believed it was the only agreement of its kind in the United States.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

We’ve heard a lot about problems funding education and roads in Kansas because of poor tax revenues — but we can add another problem to that list: state law enforcement agencies.

There are shortages everywhere.

In the past 10 years, as the population of Kansas has grown about 6 percent, the number of police officers has stayed about the same, right at 7,000.

Dwindling law enforcement

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Missouri commission reviewing law enforcement training standards stopped in Kansas City Wednesday, the fifth public meeting in a six-stop statewide tour.

Department of Public Safety Director Lane Roberts told the crowd of mostly police officers and sheriff’s deputies he knows there’s concern within departments that the new rules will become unfunded mandates.

The story of Summer Farrar, an artist whose current project is exonerating the wrongly convicted using microscopic hair comparison analysis. How an artist ended up in the mix, and what she brings to the table.

Guest:

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kris Wade remembers 33-year-old Jasmine Collins, as a "young person, out there, struggling to survive on her own." 

Collins, a transgender woman, was stabbed to death in June.

Wade had known Collins for about a year as part of the Justice Project, a non-profit that provides advocacy and services to transgender women in poverty, among others.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Missouri’s law enforcement training program will get an overhaul later this year, Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday at Kansas City Police Headquarters.

“The training requirements have not been upped or refreshed in any substantive way since 1996, and the actions of last summer – not only in Ferguson, but around the country over the last year – have told us in a very clear way that we have an opportunity to lead, and we’re going to do just that,” Nixon said.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr-CC

An often easy crime – at least in the past, in Kansas City, Missouri — was to pawn stolen items for cash at a pawn shop.

Detective Jeff Mehrer says when he makes the connection in a case and goes to the shop, the items have usually been sold. 

The person who brought them in likely used a phony name and pawn shops are not required to keep records of who buys things. Your stuff is gone. Not recoverable.

Courtesy Photo / Kansas City Police Department

 

Updated, 2:15 p.m. Wednesday: Police officers are still searching for a man suspected of  shooting a 46-year-old woman and her teenage daughter Tuesday morning.

A Kansas City Police Department spokeswoman said officers were investigating a residence near 103rd Street and North Virginia Avenue in the Northland, close to where the shooting occurred.

The spokeswoman confirmed police were searching a different house than the one where the two victims were found.

Victims Michelle and Reagan Class remained in critical condition.

The Kansas City Star / Google Creative Commons

Despite coming off a nearly 50 year, record-low homicide rate in 2014, Kansas City, Missouri Police Chief Darryl Forté isn't content to just rest on his laurels.

Amid unrest from protests over police killings of unarmed African Americans in the United States, Forté has promised a renewed focus on deescalating situations and training officers to retreat from potentially lethal situations.

Matthew Hodapp / KCUR

The Kansas City Police Department has quietly changed its training for responding to volatile situations, arming officers with something other than a gun: distance, discretion and diplomacy.

Even as the backlash from the high-profile police shooting in Ferguson continues to reverberate on the other side of Missouri, Kansas City has already instituted what’s called “tactical disengagement.”

The idea of a unified metro-wide emergency dispatch system for area law enforcement got a first hearing in a Kansas City council committee Wednesday. 

Assistant City Manager Mike Schumacher told the public safety committee that with existing separate dispatch systems, a crime can occur within a block of a police car, but those officers don't get a call because the need is in a different municipality. And the dispatcher for that municipality doesn't even know the officers are close.

Cody Newill / KCUR

In the wake of unrest in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri, the Kansas City Police Department held a community peace rally at Linwood and Prospect Saturday morning.

Mayor Sly James told the crowd of several dozen police officers, community members and city council members that keeping the city peaceful will require a continued cooperative effort.

"The issues that arose in Ferguson are not unique to Ferguson," James said. "The issues can arise here just as easily, just as quickly, if we are not vigilant."

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Other cities are looking to Kansas City, Mo., as an example of how to curb violent crime after the city saw fewer homicides in 2014 than it had in four decades.

In fact, City of St. Louis officials will travel here in coming weeks to look at the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, a policing initiative run out of the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office.

Kansas City Police Helicopters
City of Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City, Missouri police helicopters will be able to transmit bird's eye video like media news and traffic copters.

The city has received a nearly $66,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to pay three-fourths of the cost of video capabilities many citizens may have thought the police already had.

Liaison officer Eric Winebrenner explained the downlink system to city council members.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Seven people involved in a protest in downtown Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday were arrested as they attempted to block Interstate 70.

The protest was themed #BlackLivesMatter after the viral hashtag, which took off after the decisions not to indict the police officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

KMBC

At a Kansas City Police Department community listening session Saturday, Chief Darryl Forté said it’s “highly likely” that officers will wear body cameras soon.

Forté has called together a community work group to gather information on what camera services are best for the department, but said he doesn’t have a specific schedule at this time.

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