Forging Alliances: Addressing Violence in Kansas City
The inaugural program of APS’s KC Common Good series, this event featured a screening of the documentary Uncommon Allies by filmmaker Jon Brick. The film focuses on the relationship between Mothers in Charge—an organization that assists the surviving family members of victims of shooting crimes—and the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department.
Following the movie, a talkback panel took place with a diverse group of individuals on the topic of addressing violence in our community. Panelists were Deidre Anderson (United Inner City Services), Deputy Chief Karl Oakman (KCPD), Rosilyn Temple (Mothers in Charge), and Johnny Waller (community member). The panel was moderated by Rev. Bob Hill.
Watch “Forging Alliances”
Video by Jeffrey Mundinger
Photos from “Forging Alliances”
Executive Director of United Inner City Services (UICS)
Deidre Anderson is the Executive Director of United Inner City Services (UICS) in Kansas City, Missouri. UICS is a high quality early childhood program that despite being in one of the poorest zip codes in the city is having great success. Service, innovation, life-long learning, being committed to the community you serve, and a recognition that all constituents add value; are the tenets from which she leads. Prior to assuming her role at UICS, Ms. Anderson served as the Director of At Risk Programs and Grants for the Hickman Mills School District. Her tireless advocacy for underserved minority and impoverished populations locally, regionally and nationally are grounded in a belief that all families and children deserve access to a high quality education and to live in a neighborhood not plagued by violence, irrespective of their background. Ms. Anderson’s background in public education, community development and child welfare lend a unique perspective to engaging families and the community.
Deputy Chief, KCPD
Deputy Chief Karl Oakman has been a member of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department for approximately 26 years. He is currently the Administration Bureau Commander, which contains the Property and Evidence unit, Regional Crime Lab, Police Records Unit, Human Resources Division and the Information Technology Division. Deputy Chief Oakman held the position of city liaison from 2015 to 2017. As the city liaison Deputy Chief Oakman worked side by side with the Mayor, City Manager and Council to address public safety needs between the city of Kansas City and the Police Department. He received a Bachelor degree in Psychology from Northwest Missouri State University and Columbia College. He also has attended numerous specialized leadership schools and training seminars. Deputy Chief Oakman is a 2018 graduate of the Police Executive Leadership Institute (PELI). PELI is the premier training program for future police chiefs of America. Deputy Chief Oakman currently serves on several civic and public safety boards.
During his 25 years on the police department he has been assigned to the following units: East Patrol Division, Detective in the Vice Unit, Homicide Unit, and Drug Enforcement Unit. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1999, and has held supervisory positions in the following units: Central Patrol Division, Sex Crimes Unit and Employment Unit. In 2006, he was promoted to Captain and has held commander positions at East Patrol Division, Employee Benefits Unit and the Employment Unit. The Employment Benefits Unit is responsible for the administration of all employee benefits and human resources and for developing and administering all the promotional processes for the Kansas City, Missouri police department. In 2011, he was promoted to major. As a major he commanded 110 officers in the South Patrol Division of the Kansas City, Police Department, which is home to approximately 65,000 residents of various ethnic, cultural, and diverse economic backgrounds. In 2015, he commanded the Logistical Support Division, which included the Communications Unit, Fleet unit and the Communications Support Unit. In January of 2017, he was promoted to Deputy Chief.
Deputy Chief Oakman has worked throughout his career to create positive police and community relations.
Founder & Executive Director, Kansas City Chapter of Mothers in Charge
Rosilyn Temple became an activist for nonviolence in Kansas City after she found her 26-year-old son Antonio Thomas murdered in his apartment in 2011. Rosilyn never thought that one day she would wake up having to bury her own child. After the death of her son, Rosilyn knew that her life would be forever changed. Through her grief, she knew that there would have to be a place in this world where she could stand in the gap for her child. She prayed that her son’s death would not be in vain. Taking a step of faith, Rosilyn left her job as a machinist and
began volunteering for the local anti-violence organization, Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. During this time, she also became a case manager for Veronica’s Voice, a Kansas City agency that serves victims of commercial sexual exploitation, and began managing its 24-hour hotline.
In early 2012, Rosilyn discovered Mothers in Charge, Inc., founded in Philadelphia in 2003 by a group of mothers who all lost children to homicide. Rosilyn immediately contacted the executive director, Dorothy Johnson-Speight, MHS, LPC, who guided Rosilyn through the process of building a Kansas City chapter. By the end of the year, while still working full-time as a social service case manager, Rosilyn had successfully laid the groundwork for the Kansas City chapter known as “KC Mothers in Charge.” In July 2014, Rosilyn became the executive director of KC Mothers in Charge and received a full-time paid position with funding through the Kansas City Missouri Police Department and Kansas City No Violence Alliance. The funding resulted from Rosilyn’s tireless dedication and the impact she was already having at homicide scenes in comforting family, calming onlookers, supporting police by explaining procedures and helping police canvass neighborhoods after crimes.
Over the past four and half years, Rosilyn has visited approximately 400 homicide scenes. While police are securing the scene for proper investigation, Rosilyn provides compassion, care, and trauma informed crisis counseling to family members. As a mother who has been through the pain having her child stolen, she understands the incredible importance of peer-support to families during their darkest moment. Families receive referrals to financial, legal, substance abuse, employment, and medical professionals. Rosilyn has also led volunteer groups to conduct community vigils in remembrance of fallen loved ones and canvass neighborhoods after crimes to distribute gun-safety locks and encourage residents to tell what they knew. She has encouraged dozens of fellow mothers to join KC Mothers in Charge and take a stand for non-violence.
Rosilyn has literally educated and inspired thousands of Kansas Citians through many press conferences and presentations to media and churches, schools and prisons. She has touched the lives of hundreds of at-risk students and youth, inmates, ex-offenders and parolees. She also serves on the Kansas City Mayor’s Anti-Violence Task Force and was honored as, among other things, 2015 Citizen of the Year by The Kansas City Star and was the
recipient of the 2015 KC Division FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award.
Kansas City’s law enforcement leaders recognize Rosilyn’s contributions. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says that “Rosilyn is a great partner in this community. I am grateful for her and Mothers in Charge. I have confidence in her ability to give comfort and aid.” KCPD Chief Forte says that “when she pulls up, you can tell that’s she’s ready to go. I would do anything in the world to help her because she is real.”
Temple has completed the two-day training provided by the Office for Victims of Crime, Training and Technical Assistance Center, the six-hour trauma-informed training at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, the six-hour training provided by Missouri Substance Abuse Professional Credentialing Board, and the 32 hour Moving On evidence-based prison curriculum training for at-risk women.
Johnny Waller, Jr.
Johnny Waller Jr. currently works in the healthcare industry and attends Rockhurst University’s Helzberg School of Management where he is studying for his Masters in Management with a concentration in organizational leadership and development. He also earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Rockhurst University on academic scholarship and an Associate degree from Johnson County Community College in Business Administration where he spent 5 consecutive semesters on the dean’s list and graduated with civic honors.
Throughout his life, he has not only experienced academic successes, but also success as a small business owner. He owned and operated a small janitorial company in Kansas City, Imagaclean Services, for seven years until his oldest son tragically passed away from cancer. He was also the Vice President of a local non-profit organization that helped ex-offenders with life, employment and spiritual skills in order to prepare them for their new life ahead. Additionally, He has also attended many training programs including UMKC’s mini-law school, M.A.R.C’s Community Leadership training and Addictions Academy hosted by Lincoln University to name a few. He has also been the recipient of numerous awards including Tom Joyner’s Real Father’s-Real Men, an award he is most proud of.
Moderator: Rev. Bob Hill
Minister Emeritus, Community Christian Church
Dr. Bob Hill served as minister of Community Christian Church, Kansas City, Missouri, for more than 30 and a half years until his semi-retirement in 2015. He is currently a Community Consultant with the Kauffman Foundation (regarding community engagement with public education), and he has served as a consultant with What U Can Do (focusing on citizen engagement) and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (coordinating a community dialog project).
He holds degrees from Texas Christian University (B.A.), Vanderbilt University Divinity School (M.Div.), and Christian Theological Seminary (D.D.).
He currently serves on the boards of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Jewish Vocation Services, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference–GKC, and co-chairs the GKC Martin Luther King Interfaith Service. Since 1993, he has been co-host of the renowned Sunday morning radio call-in show, “Religion on the Line,” on KCMO-Talk Radio 710AM/103.7FM.
He is the author and/or editor of ten books, including most recently Life’s Too Short for Anything But Love and the forthcoming All You Need Is (More) Love . He has been joyfully married to Priscilla Reckling for 28 years, and they make their home in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri.
Roving Reporter: Klassie Alcine
Director of Corporate & Community Partnerships, Central Exchange
Klassie Alcine is Director of Corporate and Community Partnerships for Central Exchange. Klassie has over 10 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, strategic development, and political campaign management. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Public Administration. She is passionate about connecting and empowering people to learn the tools to live a fulfilled life. Klassie is an advocate for a myriad of charitable causes ranging from homeless youth to higher education.
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Thanks to support from the William T. Kemper Foundation, we prepared facts and statistics about violence in Kansas City.
The FACT SHEET is compiled by professional research librarians and is circulated to panelists for comment and feedback prior to the program. The librarians also collect suggested readings on the subject. We encourage you to read the articles and studies before attending “Forging Alliances: Addressing Violence in Kansas City.”
View the FACT SHEET below, or download it.
Violence in Kansas City, MO
There were 8344 violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault) in Kansas City, MO in 2017, up 5.6% over 2016. Only 20.3% were cleared.
Of all violent crimes in Kansas City, MO, there were 150 murders in 2017, up 17.2% over 2016. Only 50.7% were cleared. Eighty-five percent of murders were committed with a form of firearm. The next most often used means of attack was a knife (6%).
The largest category of violent crimes in Kansas City, MO is aggravated assault of which there were 5,898 incidences. Twenty-two percent were cleared.
—Kansas City Police Department Annual Report.
While the motive for murder is unknown for 52% of the cases, 23% are due to an argument, 10% result from robbery, 6% are attributable to domestic violence, and 4% stem from drugs.
Of all murders in Kansas City, MO in 2017, 57% of victims were Black Males and 54% of suspects were Black Males. White males were the next largest category of victims (18%) and 10% of all suspects were White Males. The age, race, and sex of a large number of suspects are unknown.
[The above facts come from Kansas City Police Department statistics.]
Of the 33 states with firearm death rates that exceed the national incidence of 11.73 deaths per 100,000 people, 19 have poverty rates that exceed the national rate of 14.0%. Missouri’s firearm death rate is 18.8 per 100,000; Missouri’s poverty rate is on par with the national rate, 14% (22nd highest). (source)
There are approximately 110 groups/gangs in KC. Total affiliation is approximately 1,000. The groups range in size from 3 to 50. Some members move between multiple groups based upon monetary gain. (source: email interview with Greg Volker, Commander, East Patrol Division, Kansas City Missouri Police Department)
“Abused women are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser owns a firearm.” Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (source)
“When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2015 Homicide Data.” Violence Policy Center, September 2017. (source)
“Focusing on the neighborhood level is the best way to understand violence in America. Here are six charts that prove it.”
Kansas City Homicide Rate per 100,000 (Age, Race, Sex)
Table compiled by Major Gregory Volker, Commander, East Patrol Division, Kansas City, MO Police Department
B/M = Black Male; H/M = Hispanic male; B/F = Black Female; A/M = Asian male; W/M = White male; W/F = White female
FBI’s 30 Cities with the Highest Murder Rates
2001-2017 Kansas City MO Homicides – Geographic boundaries
Compiled by Lee Darin, Kansas City Police Department
Firearm Victims in Aggravated Assaults
for Zip Codes, based on 2017 Crime Data Updated Sept. 12, 2018
from OpenDataKC, Kansas City Police Dept.
Kansas City MO Crime Data Comparisons to U.S. Average