KCMO BOPC Meeting Highlights COVID Concerns

Andrei Stoica

11/10/2020- Kansas City, Missouri

Concerns over COVID-19 took center stage during the regularly scheduled Board of Police Commissioners meeting, held at the Kansas City, Missouri Police Headquarters. KCPD Chief Rick Smith said he is “a little bit concerned” with the recent numbers in his department “going up drastically.” The KCPD staff has reported 54 officers in quarantine recently.

The meeting was open to the public with attendance limited to 25 and social distancing in the meeting room. Most of those in attendance wore masks, with the exception of a few citizens and some members of the KCPD, including Smith.

When Lucas was asked about meeting attendees ignoring his mandate, he said, “I encourage everyone to wear a mask.” Lucas also added that his mask order “exempts public safety [personnel] for any number of reasons.” When asked about Smith not wearing one, Lucas said he didn't have a concern as Smith was maintaining enough distance.

After several citizens in the room pointed out the risk of ignoring the mayor’s mandate, Kansas City resident Ky Williams handed some masks to a few officers. While several citizens in the room applauded her, officers appeared to ignore her actions.

When asked about why she felt the need to act, Williams said, “I would like to think that the only reason that our city leaders and officials wouldn't be wearing masks is that they didn't have one so I figured I'd provide one.”

Williams also expressed concern about the officers’ reaction. “I thought it was disgusting. I thought it was gross, and I thought that behavior is just unacceptable,” she said.“ I mean the fact that there's literally just a blatant disregard for our safety while we're in a public safety meeting, and they can't even, like, abide by the simple act of wearing a mask to protect the people around us—I think just speaks volumes, more than anything that they could have said in this meeting; those actions speak louder.”

Published on: 11/13/2020