It may be called the Kansas City Police Department, but in fact Kansas City's primary law enforcement organization is run by a board of commissioners appointed by Missouri's governor.
Under state law, the KCPD is controlled by a five-member Board of Police Commissioners comprised of the Mayor of Kansas City, and Kansas City, Missouri residents named by the Governor.
This Board runs the KCPD under a model going back to the 1870s and intended to insulate law enforcement from politics and corruption. Kansas City briefly had local control from 1932 through 1939 during the "Pendergast" era.
In recent years most cities, including St. Louis, have since taken direct control of the local police departments. Many people point out that Kansas City, Missouri has not really had police corruption problems except for the Pendergast days.
The Kansas City Star's Dave Helling asks a panel of experts Should Kansas City Pursue Local Control of Its Police Department? on Thursday, April 4, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Participating are former Police Commissioner Karl Zobrist, former Police Chief Jim Corwin, City Councilman Ed Ford, and Steve Glorioso, who ran the 2012 campaign to change the police governance law for St. Louis.
The program is particularly well timed. This March Kansas City Mayor Sly James announced the creation of a 30-member commission to study the matter and issue recommendations on the governance of the KCPD by October.
This event is part of the Citizens Project, a year-long series of public discussions of issues facing Kansas City. Upcoming events will focus on replacing Kansas City International Airport (July 11, 2013) and the economic border war between Kansas and Missouri (October 17, 2013).
The series is co-sponsored by the Citizens Association of Kansas City.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.