Kansas City leaders meet with at-risk residents

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) – Kansas City leaders and crime victims want potential criminals to understand that they are being watched and are on their way to life in prison or an early grave – unless they change their lives.
They delivered that message to 38 people, mostly men, who were chosen by law enforcement and invited to meet with speakers to discuss the city’s renewed effort to fight violence, mixed with a message about social services available to help them.
The meetings Wednesday were the first of several planned as part of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance’s efforts to reduce violent crime, The Kansas City Star reported.
“Seize this opportunity,” Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté told them. “We’re asking you to help us stop the violence.”
The program is fashioned after successful programs in cities like Cincinnati and Boston, with the idea to identify the individuals and groups most likely to commit violent crimes and target them for harsh prosecution if necessary.
“You are on the radar screen of law enforcement and prosecutors,” said Marino Vidoli, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office in Kansas City. “You and I both know that’s not a good thing.”
The attendees were also offered help to get social services, such as substance abuse treatment, job training and counseling.
The speakers included people from City Hall, the police department, federal law enforcement agencies, state and federal prosecutors, parole and probation officers, religious leaders and community activists. Mothers of murder victims and former felons also gave short presentations.
“We will not tolerate violence the way we have in the past,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “Don’t be foolish and question my resolve.”
Cheryl Lumpkins and Rosilyn Temple, the mothers of men murdered in Kansas City, made impassioned pleas to spare others from the pain they’ve endured.
Lumpkins’ 17-year-old son, Rickey King, was college-bound and aspired to be a police officer before he was shot to death in 2011. Another son is in a federal prison in Indiana.
“He was hard-headed and didn’t want to put the gun down,” she said.
Temple encouraged her listeners to “be a part of the community” and take a stand against violence.