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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas held his annual State of the City address Wednesday afternoon at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute.
He’s proposing a 30% increase in starting salaries for Kansas City Police Department officers, going from $50,000 a year to $65,000.
“In this year’s budget, we propose a hiring and retention incentive for all 911 call takers and dispatchers of $2,500 per employee and propose that incentive also be applied to all civilian employees who do important work with the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department,” Lucas said during his prepared speech.
Lucas’ remarks on pay raises for 911 call takers and dispatchers come as the average wait time for somebody calling 911 was 37 seconds in September 2023.
On Wednesday, Lucas thanked Board of Police Commissioners Vice President Dawn Cramer for being in attendance. KCPD Chief Stacey Graves was also in attendance.
“I’m just happy that our officers got a raise and our civilian people,” Cramer said after the address.
“We’re getting close to market rates now that she put us there, and it’s really important. We need to show the community and our officers that public safety is the number one concern, and we’re excited to build that confidence in the community and our officers.”
Cramer also told FOX4 that Kansas City Police Department is down 300 officers right now.
FOX4 asked Graves whether the shortage in officers had anything to do with the record homicide rate set in 2023. KCPD’s homicide analysis shows there were 182 homicides in 2023, breaking the 2020 record of 179.
“It’s such a layered issue that I don’t think you can point to one specific reason,” Graves said of the homicide rate.
The KCPD chief said conflict resolution programs could help drop the homicide number.
Graves said the city budget won’t be approved until March. It will be proposed to the city council on Thursday. Lucas said violence remains the city’s greatest challenge.
“This year, we are proposing to allocate $7 million out of our budget, dedicated to violence intervention and prevention,” he said Wednesday.
Lucas also said his budget fully funds KCPD personnel and exceeds their personnel budget request.