Law Enforcement Debates Value Of Busting Low-End Kansas City Drug Dealers

Discussion at today's Kansas City police board meeting evoked a nearly philosophical argument over crime fighting, data and outcome bias.

OR . . . It just got harder to be a low-rent, white, Kansas City drug dealer . . . Of which there are many.

First the debate documented lovingly by the newspaper . . .

Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker wants the police department stop sending her office low-level drug cases and instead of focusing on violent crime.

Baker said her office is creating narrow guidelines for drug cases and will charge them when a defendant poses a public safety risk.

“But going after a violent crime by going after a low level offenses has high impact, and perhaps not the one that we’re actually after,” Baker said during the police board monthly meeting.

“Perhaps it’s one that’s actually harmful.”

And then, let's take a more nuanced look at this dilemma from TV news . . .

She says when police set up drug buy-bust sting operations, they are more likely to be in black neighborhoods, and more likely to result in non-violent offender arrests, which creates distrust of police in the neighborhood.

"I want to take cases that protect my community," Peters Baker said. "I want to take cases that protect my community, ok? I will say it again. I want to take cases that protect my community. And when you bring me cases that have no discernible link to violence, it could actually cause harm, especially if you are only enforcing those in particular neighborhoods."

At least one police commissioner was concerned that this means the prosecutor is not going to file charges on any drug crimes anymore.

Peters Baker says that is not the case.

There are a myriad of issues to consider amid this argument that likely won't be settled anytime soon given the insatiable American appetite for narcotics followed by ensuing and debilitating addiction.

Read more . . .

Jackson County prosecutor says police focus 'too much' on non-violent drug cases

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says police focus too much time and effort pursuing drug cases with no clear connection to violent crime. The prosecutor presented data to police commissioners Tuesday which show that more often than not, when police make a drug bust, the person taken into custody is unlikely to be a violent criminal or a would-be murderer.

Police Board of Commissioners challenged to change KC drug prosecution practices

Jean Peters Baker. // Screenshot from KCMO City Communications Livestream The Board of Police Commissioners met today for their monthly meeting and along with it came an abundance of police reform discussion. One discussion brought before the Board was a presentation on low-level drug-related crimes by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker.

Developing . . .