Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer’s Legislative Column for Oct. 27, 2022

A Yes on Amendment 4 for Safer Streets

On Nov. 8, Missourians will go to the polls to cast votes for candidates vying for local, state and national offices. In addition, we’ll be asked to weigh in on four constitutional amendments. Amendment 4 asks voters whether the Kansas City Police Department should receive adequate funding to keep the community safe.

If passed, Amendment 4 would revise Missouri’s Constitution to set a minimum funding level for the Kansas City Police Department that reflects historical funding levels and stops future attempts to defund the police. This constitutional question is the second half of a two-part effort I led to provide the KCPD with the resources it needs to ensure public safety and protect our community. I sponsored Amendment 4 and its companion bill after the radical actions by the Kansas City mayor and city council in 2021 to strip $42 million from the police department’s budget. The KC mayor and City Council discussed these cuts in secret and excluded the KC Northland members from the discussion — it’s no surprise that all four Northland council members voted no. The 2021 cuts constituted one-fifth of the KCPD’s budget and I believe, if permitted, would have impacted officer salaries, resulted in layoffs and devastated the KCPD’s ability to keep Kansas City safe. A court eventually overturned the budget cuts as illegal, but that ruling didn’t prevent future efforts by the city to defund the police. That’s why we need Amendment 4.

Amendment 4 stabilizes the KCPD budget and sets a minimum funding level of 25% of city funds, which matches the historic funding the department has received. I believe the 2021 attempt to slash KCPD’s budget was an attempt to undermine the KC Police Board’s budget authority and redirect funds to ill-defined community programs controlled by bureaucrats. The largest police force in Missouri, the KCPD is governed by a five-member Board of Police Commissioners made up entirely of Kansas City residents, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. This independent, bipartisan commission structure has existed since the 1930s and protects the KCPD from city politics. Since the 1950s, Missouri’s Constitution has required the city to devote 20% of its budget to the KCPD, but the City has historically funded the KCPD at around 25%. The 25% threshold required by Amendment 4 is in line with the modern funding needs of the department and is consistent with the level of funding provided by the city in recent decades.

Over the past weeks and months, I’ve heard from many of you concerned about rising crime and the lack of support for law enforcement in our community. We can do something about it. On Nov. 8, I will enthusiastically cast a “Yes” vote on Amendment 4. The time has come to stop city politicians’ attempts to play games with the police budget and prevent future attempts of defunding the Kansas City Police Department. Amendment 4 will ensure stability and give the officers of the KCPD the resources they need to keep our community safe, and in turn, contribute to economic prosperity across the entire state of Missouri.

I hope you will join me in standing with the brave men and women of law enforcement and voting “yes” on Amendment 4.

It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Platte and Buchanan counties in the Missouri Senate. Please contact my office at 573-751-2183, or visit