KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police deserve a stronger work-life balance.
That, in a sense, is the mission from supporters of a new bill that’s already passed the Missouri State Senate. The measure would end Kansas City, Missouri’s residency requirement for officers on the police force. The rule that KCPD officers must live within city limits dates back generations. The Kansas City Police Department employs roughly 1,400 officers.
Both sides of the debate make their stand on relationships between police and their communities. Damon Daniel, who directs the AdHoc Group Against Crime in east Kansas City, said when officers live close to the people they police, it forms bridges between the community and the police department.
“If I’m going to arrest this person, and then, I’m going to turn around and see them at the grocery store the next day or the next week, I might want to treat them with a little more dignity and respect, and vice-versa too,” Daniel said.
Kansas City’s elected officials are required to live inside city limits. Daniel is among those who believe it’s healthy for police to live there as well.
“There’s more buy-in. There’s more ownership and more investment from that particular individual. I certainly see the benefits,” Daniel said.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas agrees with Daniel’s stance. The mayor recalled the George Floyd-related protests from the Minneapolis area from summer 2020.
Lucas said more than 80% of that city’s officers reside outside the Minneapolis city limits.
“There is absolutely no reason on God’s green earth we need to make this change,” Lucas said on Wednesday. “This is a horrendous mistake that’s going to hurt Kansas City long term. It’s not going to make us safer. It’s going to ruin, in some ways, and challenge relations between police and the community.”
FOX4 requested comments from the Kansas City Police Department as well as the Kansas City Police Union. Each group said it doesn’t comment on bills in legislation before they become laws. Police Union President Brad Lemon recently complained to the city council his officers are the only police in the state required to live within its city. Lucas said this
A late concession to the bill would permit officers to live within 30 minutes outside city limits. The police residency bill still needs approval by the full Missouri legislature. The current session runs through April 6.