Mayoral candidates spar on question of police department investigation

Tyrone Garner

Mayor David Alvey

A proposed investigation of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department was one of the issues at Tuesday night’s mayoral debate.

Mayor David Alvey directly addressed opponent Tyrone Garner about his days at the Police Department.

The debate, sponsored by the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce, was moderated by Micheal Mahoney of KMBC-TV.

Garner said he supported a Department of Justice investigation of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department.

Mayor Alvey said he has asked Police Chief Karl Oakman to look into it and give an opinion on whether there should be an outside investigation, and he would support Oakman. Alvey also said a KBI investigation has now been turned over to the FBI. At the debate, Alvey echoed some of the statements that candidate Janice Witt had made about Garner in the primary election.

Garner, a former deputy chief at the Police Department, was on the police force at the time that there was alleged corruption there, Mayor Alvey said. If Garner knew about these things and did not come forward at the time, “we deserve an explanation of why not,” Alvey said. He said Garner had said earlier that he was afraid for his job.

“It’s shameful you would go there,” Garner responded. Although he worked there 31 years, he did not know anything about the alleged incidents, he said. He said he did not sit on anything. He worked to get corrupt officers out of uniform, he said.

“I served this community honorably and sacrificed for Wyandotte County, and I’m back here today because I care about this community,” Garner said. “It’s shameful you should go there. I’ve dealt with bad police officers, I’ve dealt with racism.” He wanted an outside investigation into the Police Department, he said.

“You don’t owe me an apology. You owe every police officer an apology for that statement,” Garner said.

“I apologize,” Alvey said. “Again, it seems from the outside that someone in that position would have seen what was going on.”

Alvey said if Chief Oakman wants a Department of Justice investigation, he would support it. He also added it is costly and it could take funds away from other areas of the budget.

Garner, who had the support of the firefighters’ union in the primary election, also supported some of their issues, along with the reopening of the Fairfax fire station.

The candidates also discussed their views on economic development, with both saying they support development east of I-635, along with different opinions on the Unified Government’s PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) fees on the Board of Public Utilities’ bills.

Garner won the Aug. 3 primary election by 48 votes, according to the election canvass. Turnout was around 14.36 percent.

The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 2. The last day to register to vote before the election is Oct. 12.

The debate will be shown on the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KansasCityKansasChamberOfCommerce/.

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