Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police Union President Brad Lemon says the department has never lost this many people in year due to resignations.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
Staffing concerns continue for the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department.
The short staff is causing the department to cut its downtown foot beat at the end of the year and popular community programs.Advertisement
“It’s frustrating for us because the union has been saying this for six months. In (the) end of September of 21 — we have never lost this many people this year due to resignations — it’s never happened,” said Brad Lemon, Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police Union president.
KCPD Chief Rick Smith says the department is short 300 people and loses an average of 17 each month. The low numbers of people will cause the department to cut back its community engagement, according to Smith.
“At the end of the day when we have more people we can develop better relationships —we’re not running call to call to call,” Lemon said.
The department projects it will have fewer than 1,000 officers by the start of next year. That would be the lowest level in 25 years.
“At this rate, we don’t know what this department will look like in a year or two,” Lemon said.
Lemon hopes the city would provide more resources to the department to help keep officers on the force.
“We have a lot of issues we have to fix internally, and eternally. If there is a place that we can fix and start working on it, let’s do it — instead of ignoring it and kicking the can down the road,” Lemon said.
KCPD has not had the funding for a police academy class in nearly a year and a half, but recruiting efforts have increased with more people taking the application test.