By John Sharp
The public is invited to attend the first of what is expected to be a continuing series of quarterly engagement and listening sessions throughout the city with new KCMO Police Chief Stacey Graves from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at United Believers Community Church, 5600 E. 112th Ter.
The sessions are a collaborative effort between the Police Department and the Public Safety Coalition organized in early 2022 by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and consisting of 16 business, civic, faith-based and neighborhood organizations including the South Kansas City Alliance and the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. They are being facilitated by KC Common Good, a Coalition member.
The south Kansas City session will begin with Graves presenting her ideas and plans for reducing violent crime in Kansas City. Attendees will break out into smaller groups to discuss the chief’s plans and to report their thoughts and concerns about her plans and their own ideas for reducing violent crime to the entire group.
The upcoming session and following quarterly sessions are modeled after the series of listening session the Coalition sponsored last year to get public feedback on the qualities city residents wanted their new police chief to have and on what they felt should be the new chief’s top priorities.
Surveys of participants in those listening sessions showed reducing violent crime was one of their top priorities.
Unfortunately, Kansas City’s per capita homicide rate is among the highest in the nation for large cities.
Our city had the most homicides in our history in 2020 when we suffered 179 homicides. By April 25 of that year the Police Department had recorded 45 homicides. On that date this year we already have recorded 52, including 6 in South Patrol.
Everyone is welcome to attend the May 11 session, but persons are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to assure enough seating.