Monday, August 17, 2015

Survey shows increased citizen satisfaction with KCPD

The results of the Kansas City’s annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey were released last week, and I’m very proud of how our department did. Satisfaction with overall quality of police services increased by 3 percent from 2014, which was the greatest increase of any major city service this year.

An increase of 3 percent may not seem like much, but given the scrutiny law enforcement has been under during the past year, I think it’s very impressive. A series of officer-involved shootings and excessive force incidents began last August and led to great distrust and dissatisfaction with police around the country.

In Kansas City, I have asked the members of our department to instead focus on building trust and fostering relationships with the people we serve. We still have a long way to go, but we have made tremendous strides. At a time when other cities are seeing rioting and skyrocketing homicide rates born of reduced confidence in law enforcement, 3 percent more Kansas City residents report satisfaction with the quality of police services they receive. At 66.1 percent, it’s the greatest percentage of satisfaction since the City started asking the question in 2012.

There also were significant increases in satisfaction in three other police areas compared to last year:

· City’s overall efforts to prevent crime is up 6.2 percent

· Effectiveness of local police protection is up 4.6 percent

· How quickly police respond to emergencies is up 2.1 percent.

Again, I think this is tremendous given the overall feelings about law enforcement in the past year. It shows that our department members by and large are different from those who have made national headlines. The most prominent headlines KCPD members made this past year were for getting caught on camera interacting with urban-core youth, rescuing dogs and working with other members of the community to bring Kansas City’s homicide rate to its lowest level in 42 years.

We have much more work to do, however. There is still much distrust that must be overcome, and building relationships that do that is one of my highest priorities. I thank the members of this department who are breaking down barriers of mistrust every day, and I thank the other segments of the community who are doing the same.

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