Mental Health & Gun Violence

A Community-Led Approach to Address Community Violence

In 2018 Kansas City was ranked the sixth most violent city. Despite the best efforts of law enforcement and impact of programs- it is not enough. The solution goes beyond the police and requires a long term systematic approach focused on collaboration. I propose a community-led approach with a long-term commitment to addressing distressed communities, substance abuse (including opioids), mental health, and creating opportunities that improve the life expectancy of Kansas City residents.    

  1. Police- It is essential that KCPD becomes fully staffed with patrol officers to respond to calls for service across our 319 square miles. We must work with the City Manager, Board Of Police Commissioners (BOPC), and KCPD command staff to create a 5-year strategic plan to achieve the recommendations of the recent police staffing study.

  2. Community- The community must come together and acknowledge the primary issues impacting their respective neighborhoods and set realistic expectations about what it will take to address them.

    1. Begin by setting the expectation of safe neighborhoods

    2. Clarify the roles & responsibilities of stakeholders to assist with problem-solving.

    3. Next, identify the necessary resources to achieve solutions to major problems

    4. Finally, identify barriers to success and continually work to remove these barriers

  3. Public Health- I support the public health approach to bring balance to the community. Three key issues that I plan to address are substance abuse, mental health, and hopelessness. These impairments directly impact the person and require a trauma informed approach led by trained professionals. Mental health professionals, substance abuse counselors, and medical clinicians are best prepared to support in this area.

  4. Government/ Institutions/ Organisations - Governmental entities, institutions, and civic and social organizations must accept community stated priorities and demonstrate a willingness to work with them in the manner individual communities request. This will be accomplished by:

    1. Engaging the right stakeholders

    2. Providing the infrastructure to lead the coordination of efforts

    3. And most importantly, a long-term commitment to the community plan to work together beyond the terms of individual elected officials

  5. Long Term Commitment to Investments in Solutions - We must collectively agree on the solutions and formalize a long-term commitment to funding the proposed solutions. It is essential that there is transparency in spending as well as regular public updates on the measures of success provided by the collaborative program.

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