JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Measures to help recruit and retain Kansas City police officers were on the agenda Tuesday for state lawmakers in Jefferson City.
Democrat state Rep. Mark Sharp and Republican state Rep. Chris Brown each have their own proposed legislation affecting the Kansas City Police Department. Sharp’s bill would remove the almost $190,000 cap for the Kansas City police chief’s maximum salary and the 60-year-old age limit.
“By removing these current roadblocks from statute, we can ensure the city doesn’t miss out on the best and brightest candidates because of an age requirement or a salary restriction,” Sharp said in a statement.
Brown’s bill goes a step further, eliminating the salary maximums for officers throughout the department. In this version, the Kansas City police board would establish the chief’s salary range by resolution and use salary minimums as base pay for officers.
“If we’re going to attract and retain the best officers for Kansas City, the board needs the flexibility to offer competitive pay,” Brown said in a statement. The Kansas City Police Department is the only agency in the state of Missouri under state control and is overseen by a governor-appointed police board.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas traveled to the state capital Tuesday to testify in favor of the measures.
“On every issue, we don’t always get to be on the same side,” Lucas said. “I wanted to make sure it was clear that the full city council, the mayor’s office and beyond support this important piece of legislation.”
Lucas agreed these bills would allow Kansas City to remain competitive with police departments across the country. State lawmakers are expected to vote on both bills in committee soon.