(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) — Kansas City law enforcement officials are considering improved security for the city’s County Club Plaza entertainment district after another disturbance by a group of young people during the weekend.
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté will meet with his top commanders Tuesday to discuss a security plan that could include undercover officers patrolling the streets and a detention room to hold troublesome youths until their parents or guardians can collect them, The Kansas City Star reported.
“This will no longer be tolerated,” Forté said of the youth problems that have plagued the Plaza in recent years. “My intent is to make it safe and peaceful.”
Police commanders will work with community partners toward a long-term solution, Forté said.
“This issue is way bigger than the police. We have to do more to involve more people to find ways to minimize disruptions and not displace the kids to other areas,” he said.
Crowds of youths have been drawn to the entertainment district on Saturday nights, mostly in warmer months. The worst incident was in the summer of 2011 when a shooting injured three youths and sent Mayor Sly James diving for cover. Afterward, officials enacted a 9 p.m. summer curfew for all entertainment districts.
Officers were called to the Cinemark Palace movie theater about 8:15 p.m. Saturday to disperse up to 150 youths. Some had been thrown out of the theater for disruptive behavior. Some youths ran into the street to disrupt traffic and fights broke out. A few of the young people were cited, and the most serious violation was resisting arrest and hindering.
“This had nothing to do with curfew,” Forté said of Saturday’s troubles. “It had to do with behavior.”
The City Council recently formed a youth commission — comprising up to 15 high school juniors, seniors and college students, plus five other representatives of youth organizations — to discuss how to address problems such as the Plaza disturbances.
Councilman Jermaine Reed said it would be helpful to provide more youth entertainment opportunities in the city, but that Saturday’s incident showed young people and their parents need to help with the solution.
“I would say it’s more of a behavior problem from young people needing to behave appropriately when out in public and parents needing to take responsibility,” he said.