- Associated Press - Saturday, March 23, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Faced with resident concerns about violent crime, the city council in Kansas City, Missouri, is adding more police officers.

The council on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a $1.7 billion budget recommended by city staff in February. The Kansas City Star reports that the budget allocates another $300,000 to hire 12 additional officers for the fiscal year that starts May 1.

It’s the second straight year the city is adding more police. Last year’s budget added 24 officers and 15 call-takers.

A SurveyUSA poll commissioned by the Star and published Sunday shows crime is the biggest issue in the minds of voters in the upcoming mayoral election.

The budget also includes $7.3 million to police for wage and benefit increases, pension and health insurance increases, and other priorities.

Police Sgt. Jake Becchina said in a statement that additional officers will allow the department o “better serve the citizens of Kansas City” through both enhanced patrols and in investigations.

The budgeting process began last month when Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte submitted their recommended spending plan.

In addition to the extra officers, council members increased funding to a public-private partnership for a new animal shelter, violence prevention, health programs and an initiative to help small businesses.

The budget also provides increases hire more firefighters. Other increases are for street resurfacing, tearing down dangerous buildings, hiring more code inspectors and addressing illegal dumping.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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