Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Two big decisions from the Board of Police Commissioners today

Two big decisions came out of today’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting that I wanted to tell you about.

The first has been several years in the making: a memorandum of understanding between the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99 (FOP) and the Board of Police Commissioners. The process had been contentious at times, but we worked through the difficult parts to reach an understanding between rank-and-file officers and the command staff and Board. The MOU recognizes the FOP as the bargaining entity of all sworn personnel at the rank of sergeant or below. This is something that has been an issue for more than a decade, and everyone involved is pleased to have come to this labor management agreement. The Board unanimously approved it. As FOP Lodge 99 President Sergeant Brad Dumit said this morning, “There is nothing now that together we can’t overcome.”

The second big decision was the Board’s resolution regarding the public safety sales tax. The Board voted 4-1 to ask the Kansas City Council to put the renewal of the quarter-cent public safety sales tax on the November ballot. Mayor Mark Funkhouser voted against the resolution because he said he wanted the tax to fund additional police personnel. Police Department staff have recommended against using a sunsetting tax to hire and maintain staff. The resolution approved this morning is to extend the quarter-cent sales tax that is set to expire in 2011 another 15 years. The tax will be used for capital improvements, including the construction of new East and North patrol division stations and a new Crime Lab; remodeling Police Headquarters, a new radio system for all city departments, new helicopters, police vehicles and equipment. The Board decided to make the tax 15 years in length to correspond with the debt service the City already agreed upon for the new city-wide radio system. Staff determined the tax would put enough relief on the City’s general fund to free up money to hire 40 additional officers. The City Council must now approve putting the measure on the November 2010 ballot.

You’ll be hearing more about these things in the future, but I wanted to pass on the major decisions that took place today.

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