JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Measures to help recruit and retain Kansas City police officers were on the agenda Tuesday for state lawmakers in Jefferson City.
Democratic State Representative Mark Sharp and Republican State Representative Chris Brown each have their own proposed legislation affecting the Kansas City Police Department. Sharp’s bill would remove the nearly $190,000 cap on the Kansas City Police Chief’s maximum salary and age limit of 60.
“By removing these current roadblocks from the charter, we can ensure the city doesn’t lose out on its best and brightest candidates due to an age requirement or salary restriction,” Sharp said in a statement.
Brown’s bill takes it a step further, eliminating maximum salaries for officers across the department. In this version, the Kansas City Police Board would set the chief’s salary range by resolution and use minimum wages as the base pay for officers.
“If we are 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 on Tuesday to testify in favor of the measures.
“On every issue, we can’t always be on the same side,” Lucas said. “I wanted to make sure it was clear that the entire city council, the mayor’s office and beyond supported this important piece of legislation.”
Lucas agreed that these bills would allow Kansas City to remain competitive with police departments across the country. State lawmakers are expected to vote on both bills soon in committee.