Playing Games with "Cops on the Street"

After hacking $15 million dollars from the budget of the Kansas City police department, the Kansas City Council wants to act like it didn’t do anything wrong. Incredibly, two City Councilwomen have sought to breeze in and wallpaper over their budgetary attack by encouraging the Police Department to eliminate support positions and change the working conditions for 200 cops – all so that they can claim that their budgetary attack didn’t reduce “cops on the street”.

These are the same people who voted to donate almost $2,000,000 to the stadiums, instead of using it to reduce the cuts to cops.

Frankly, avoiding a reduction in the number of “cops on the street” is political showmanship, not effective public safety. “Cops on the street” need support off the street, and $15 million in cuts to the back office is going to have an impact on the ability of the cops on the street to do their jobs. Those cops on the street need supplies, they need well-maintained vehicles, and they need supervision. Like any business, they need support services, and cutting those support services while artificially maintaining the number of cops on the street is likely to do more harm than good.

Sure enough, after the Police Board passed the budget without a single negative vote, one of the City Council members took the low road and preemptively slimed the Police Chief. “If officers are pulled off the street that will be Corwin’s decision, not the council’s.” Folks, I’ve seen some pretty vile attempts at denying responsibility for one’s own behavior before, but that one ranks way up there.

Of course, in the anti-Funk hysteria this town is currently suffering through, nobody wants to talk about the irresponsibility of the council. Instead, people are aiming their guns at the one person who has worked hardest to preserve the police force. The same Council member mentioned above had the unmitigated gall to complain that “Funkhouser hadn’t helped the city officials dicker with the police staff during task force meetings about the budget.”

I believe that the Council “dickered” the police department quite well without Mark’s help.

Showing an amazing ability to focus on the irrelevant, Yael “Funk is a Big Poopyhead” Abouhalkah even took a cheap shot at Funkhouser for not attending the meeting at which the budget passed without a single negative vote. Again, showmanship gets valued over substance in Yael’s mind. Instead of even mentioning the vote tally, Yael wrote two columns attacking Mark for the same missed meeting, and implied that pre-meeting participation in the budgetary process doesn’t matter if none of the voters mentions it during the vote. Amateurish, petty hack job.

If we want to talk about failure in Kansas City, we ought to be talking about the attempts of certain City Council members to paper over the impact of their disastrous police cuts, and the Star’s biased refusal to call them on it.

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