As mayor, the safety and protection of our city is a top priority for me. This isn’t platitude – this is my commitment, and it requires cooperation among not only the city and my office but the cooperation of law enforcement and state officials.
I value Chief Forte’s leadership. His dedication to his force, and this city, comes at a time when police across the country in metropolitan areas large and small have faced strained relationships and eroding trust. We benefit in Kansas City from his service and focus on maintaining strong relationships and building bridges between law enforcement and our communities.
I mentioned that protecting our city is a commitment of mine, not just platitude. I mean that. And that’s why – if anyone wants to talk about what is NOT being done to support our FOP, we absolutely have to talk about what HAS been done by my administration to support, strengthen, and value our police department.
- KC police has received a budget increase EVERY year that I’ve been in office, since 2011.
- I want to say that again. Our police department has received pay increases of 2% or more in their wages plus larger increases to benefits since I entered office five years ago.
- In that same time, the city and FOP reached a contract agreement on pension and salary in 2013, that reflected cooperative effort, and represented stability for the years ahead.
- Our city spends 74 cents of every dollar in our general fund on public safety. 74 percent. We don’t pinch pennies when it comes to our city’s safety OR the value of those who protect and serve us.
- As the only city in the nation without local control of our police department – - we’ve made these advancements and strengthened our commitment to our police department DESPITE a state legislature that determines big parts of our city’s law enforcement policies.
This issue has real consequences. We absolutely have to maintain a top tier police department and my record shows my commitment to just that. Continuing this will require the same cooperation, open communication, and shared vision of success that has made gains possible in recent years.
I would invite the FOP, and Chief Forte, for whom I have great respect, to keep in mind the progress we’ve made together.