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Should Kansas City be forced to give even more money to police?

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The retirement of Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith comes after years of bitter debates over police conduct and funding. Missouri state Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer has defended how a state-appointed board controls the KCPD, and is now calling for Missouri to require even more city funding for police.

Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith announced Friday that he will retire on April 22. The news came just a day after Kansas City Council passed a budget that includes $269 million for police, above the 20% minimum required by Missouri law.

Missouri Senate Majority Whip Tony Luetkemeyer, a Parkville Republican, has pushed for the state legislature to pass a law increasing the amount of money Kansas City is required to dedicate to police — since it's a state-appointed board, not city leaders, who control the KCPD.

As Luetkemeyer wants to keep it that way: "What is being promoted in City Hall is the notion of local political control... whether or not we believe that the largest police department in the state of Missouri should be controlled by politicians in City Hall in Kansas City. And my answer to that is absolutely not."

KCUR's Brian Ellison speaks with Luetkemeyer about his push for more city funding for police, why so little has gotten done in the Missouri Senate this year, and the recent allegations against former governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens.

Contact the show at news@kcur.org. Follow KCUR on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news.

Kansas City Today is hosted by Nomin Ujiyediin. It is produced by Byron Love with Trevor Grandin and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
Trevor Grandin is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date.