Here in the Killa City, we got news this week of how the $12 million in cuts proposed in City Manager Wayne Cauthen's budget would affect the Kansas City Police Department. The police say they'd have to give 225 police officers pink slips. Kinda scary when the city had more murders last year than the Royals had wins and the daily paper runs a three-part series called "Murder Factory."
I called up police commissioners Karl Zobrist and Terry Brady to find out how realistic the projections were. I was also wondering if this was just a scare tactic.
"I think our citizens would be shocked at what's being suggested
here," Commissioner Brady said. "The impact on critical services is going to be
Commissioner Zobrist added: "It's serious, but it's obviously the
opening shot. That doesn't mean that we're going to have that many
layoffs, but it obviously means we're short money. The whole city
Yeah, it's real early. We're still waiting for Mayor Funkhouser's budget, which should be out in mid-February.
Brady said 90 percent of the
department's funding goes to salaries. The other 10 percent goes to
"Those operating costs remain the same whether the funding's cut or not," Brady told me.
talked a lot about improvements the department has made. He said the
department has made "substantial tangible progress" in response times
the last couple of years, and a 24 percent decrease in crime since
increasing employees 16 percent.
"As people become concerned about crime, and we bring people back
downtown, is this time to have cutbacks in the police department?"
Zobrist said. "If cuts have to occur, I understand that. But they
needed to be
targeted at things that affect as little as possible the core
responsibilities of the city. And obviously public safety is one of
Of course, no one wants to go backward.
said a new crop of police academy recruits started class on Monday.
Brady said new recruits are being counted on to fill positions of
"We had to tell recruits that we may not have
funding after May 1 to continue their recruit class," Brady said. He
added that he spoke with one officer who had to make a decision on
whether to leave another law enforcement agency and accept a job in
"He didn't know if he was going to have a job after May 1," Brady said. "It's already having a significant impact."