Push ahead on KC police station, crime lab
The Kansas City Star
The new police station and modern crime lab proposed for Kansas City’s urban core have stirred up worries over everything from the ouster of longtime residents to the design of the buildings.
These concerns and others must be addressed as the project proceeds.
But make no mistake: It should proceed.
People do need fair compensation for their houses; Mayor Sly James and others must make sure this happens. And the Police Department must ensure that the station and crime lab do not project an unfriendly, bunker-like atmosphere to surrounding neighborhoods.
Overall, however, the plan to build a new East Patrol station and finally give Kansas Citians a more professional laboratory that can solve crimes more quickly deserves the public’s support.
This much-needed effort will bulldoze several dozen dilapidated properties that now mar the four-block renewal area from 26th to 27th Streets, between Brooklyn and Prospect avenues. Cracked sidewalks and piles of trash on abandoned properties will be replaced by new sidewalks, trees, bushes and parking areas to be used by dozens of law enforcement officers every day.
It’s also encouraging that the Police Department is trying to stretch taxpayers’ dollars with a campus that combines two high priorities, both approved by voters during the sales-tax renewal of 2010.
The $57 million project could turn out to be a key city investment in battling the blight and high crime rates that affect parts of Kansas City’s urban core.
The development of the lab and station could encourage more private investment in surrounding blocks. It also should increase the police presence in crime-ridden areas, potentially boosting positive encounters between residents and officers.
The strategy by police with this new station — and a few others it has built recently — of offering a community meeting room for residents also could improve those relationships. Residents need to feel more welcome to assist police in solving crimes that damage their neighborhoods.
The use of public funds to essentially evict people from their houses wasn’t expected to go smoothly in all cases, and it hasn’t. But the good of the entire community will be served by building police facilities that will help protect Kansas Citians and provide more assistance to victims of crime in the future.