Your Chamber at Work - October 4, 2021




Civic Council President Marc Hill and I went before the KCMO Board of Police Commissioners last week to share with them the first three recommendations from our joint study of police procedures and policy.

Our first recommendation was that the Board and the City of KCMO should engage in dialogue – rather than litigation – to find common ground regarding the department’s current budget and other contentious issues. As you’ll recall, the City Council is withholding $42-million – the amount over the 20 percent the City is required to fund the police budget, hoping to develop a joint plan as to how that money will be spent. In turn, the Police Board is suing the City as a result of the Council’s action.

Our second recommendation is that, as vacancies on the Board of Police Commissioners occur, we encourage the appointment of new members who reflect the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of the community KCPD serves. (Appointment and approval of new commissioners are the responsibility of the governor and state senate, respectively.)

We spent most of our time discussing our third recommendation: to restructure the current review process of excessive use of force and citizen complaints to that it will employ industry best-practices, is fully independent of the KCPD, and reports directly to the Board of Police Commissioners. That reformed structure must employ dedicated, professional, and legally-empowered investigators from outside the police department. Of note, the City Auditor made a similar recommendation to the Board in an audit report issued in 2005.

The Board thanked us for our work but took no action. The Chamber/Civic Council study of the police department continues.


This is your final reminder that our annual ATHENA Awards event is this Thursday, October 7, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. We will celebrate and honor the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award recipient Sherry Turner and the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award recipient Michele L. Watley. This event is private due to COVID restrictions, but you can register to attend virtually and we will send you a link before the event. Thanks to our Presenting Sponsors Bank Midwest and KPMG.


Join us Friday, October 15, 1 to 3 p.m., to take part in a re-entry simulation to understand the many obstacles faced by people leaving incarceration and returning home to their communities. See what returning citizens face in their first month post-release, including what it’s like to get a job, find housing, and meet the weekly requirements to avoid returning to prison. This event is presented by our WORC initiative (Workplace Opportunities for Returning Citizens), which has a twofold goal of both bolstering our area workforce and helping to reduce crime. It takes place in the KC Chamber Board Room, in the southeast corner of Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd. Space is limited so register now.


Kanas City played a prominent role in the history of housing discrimination in America. Author Tanner Colby unpacked part of that history in his book, “Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America.” Colby joins KC real estate attorney Shomari Benton in a conversation about race and real estate in our next Diversity & Inclusion Workshop, Acknowledging the Dividing Lines: Race and Real Estate, Tuesday, October 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register now for this free event as educator Marlee Bunch moderates the conversation.  This event is made possible in part through a grant from Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Thank you to our 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Workshop Series Presenting Sponsor, Commerce Bank, and our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Presenting Sponsors CommunityAmerica Credit Union, Evergy and Hallmark.  This event series is in partnership with the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, Grandview Chamber of Commerce, Independence Chamber of Commerce, Liberty Area Chamber of Commerce, Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.


Join us for the Chamber’s 2021 Annual Dinner livestream Tuesday, November 23, 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. This is the region’s premier business event, bringing together business leaders, elected officials, and community leaders to celebrate KC in what’s become a Thanksgiving Week tradition. The 2021 theme is KC For All -- a celebration of all that Kansas City is and all that it can be. We welcome our keynote speakers Davyeon Ross, Co-Founder and President of ShotTracker, and Kansas City, KS native Kalen Allen, rising content creator, actor, and entertainment personality, best known for his recurring guest spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. We will also welcome back musical talent Casi Joy! Due to COVID restrictions, our in-person capacity has been reached, but virtual tickets are now available for $30. Get yours now! Thank you to our 2021 Annual Dinner Presenting Sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.