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How Independence spent COVID relief money on the police

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The city of Independence allocated millions in federal COVID relief funding to its police department — for things like sniper rifles and officer bonuses — but little to the health department. Plus: Kansas Jayhawks football has stirred up talk with their early-season success under coach Lance Leipold. But how long will it last?

The city of Independence, Missouri, spent $2 million of its American Rescue Plan Act funding on the police department, more than it allocated to any other department or project. Among other things, the funds were used to purchase sniper rifles and tactical helmets and to provide retention bonuses, which were labeled as “community violence intervention” in its report to the U.S. Treasury. Anastasia Valeeva, a data fellow at the nonprofit news organization The Marshall Project, explains what the ARPA money was used for and why those spending decisions proved controversial for the Independence City Council.

With a 5-2 record this season, and one win away from the chance to play in a bowl game for the first time since 2008, the University of Kansas football team has already exceeded expectations. But how long will the good times last under the present head coach? Greg Echlin reports for KCUR.

Kansas City Today is hosted by Nomin Ujiyediin. It is produced by Byron Love and KCUR Studios and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

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As a newscaster and a host of a daily news podcast, I want to deliver the most important and interesting news of the day in an engaging and easily understandable way. No matter where you live in the metro or what you’re interested in, I want you to learn something from each newscast or podcast – and maybe even give you something to talk about at the dinner table. You can email me at nomin@kcur.org and find me on Twitter @NominUJ.
As an on-demand producer, I am focused on using my skills and experiences across multiple digital applications, platforms and media fields to create community focused audio, video and on-demand products for KCUR Studios. The media that I produce aims to inform, entertain and connect with the Kansas City metro area as we continue to learn from each other. Email me at byronlove@kcur.org.
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