Protect Mayor James, the face of Kansas City
The Kansas City Star
Security at City Hall, the Kansas City Police Department and other buildings has been increased in recent years, all to better protect the public and city employees.
Yet on Tuesday, a man was able to interrupt Mayor Sly James during his State of the City speech at the Gem Theater and yell into the microphone for several seconds before being quickly pulled away from the podium by one of James’ police-provided bodyguards.
Security for the mayor needs to be re-evaluated.
Police Chief Darryl Forté took the right approach about a potential upgrade in security. “We’ll look at it,” he said, adding, “This is a serious incident.”
Notably, the mayor remained calm while the man was on stage, then resumed his address to an applauding crowd. The event diverted attention from the mayor’s accurate report that the city is making progress on a number of crucial issues, such as better road repairs.
The protester’s disorderly actions also badly undermined any legitimate point he wanted to make.
After the speech, the mayor said, “I’m not going to question my security.”
Still, the incident was embarrassing because it occurred while James was trying to pump up the city’s image. Extra safety precautions should have been taken, partly because the event was held outside City Hall.
Forté is right: The police and the mayor’s staff should review ways to improve security for James, who is the face of Kansas City to the rest of the metropolitan area and to the nation.