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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 6, 2002
Contact: Donovan Mouton, (816) 513-3500

Mayor Announces Appointments to
Bias Incidents/Hate Crimes Task Force

Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes announced today her appointments to the Bias Incidents/Hate Crimes Task Force. The Task Force will be chaired by Gwen Grant, president of the Greater Kansas City Urban League, and Carolyn Vellar, executive director of Northland Neighborhoods, Inc.

Other members are City Council members Alvin Brooks and Teresa Loar; Tracy, Missouri Mayor Brenda Ferguson; Bill Whitcomb, U.S. Department of Justice; Juan Rangel, National Conference for Community and Justice; Rosemary Graves, Northland Diversity Council; Mary Matalone, Lathrop & Gage; Ken Lutgen, District Superintendent for Heartland District of United Methodist Church; Major John Hamilton, Kansas City Police Department; Major Kathy Pearce, Kansas City Police Department; Robert Zambri, Harmony board member; Thomas Lowe, Northland resident and national member of the NAACP; Camille Goods, student at Park University; Chief William Adamo, Gladstone Police Department; and Chief Bill Hudson, Parkville Police Department.

The Task Force will begin by investigating the two racially motivated incidents in Kansas City North. It will also be asked to convene focus groups from the nonprofit, government and private sectors, including representatives from education, business and neighborhood groups, to discuss and seek input on:

    • the extent that racially motivated incidents and hate crimes are occurring in Kansas City North;

    • increasing awareness and outreach;

    • improving responsiveness of police; city officials and the community at large; and

    • building community trust.

The group will be expected to provide recommendations to Mayor Barnes within 90 days to eliminate or eradicate racially motivated incidents in Kansas City North.

In addition, Mayor Barnes will ask the Human Rights Commission to be involved by providing reports to the Task Force on several issues, including an educational documentary video on racial profiling; minority recruitment and retention of Kansas City Police Department officers and civilians; policy recommendations regarding racial profiling, minority recruitment and diversity in officer training; and how the KCPD and other metro area law enforcement agencies are minimizing or eliminating barriers to reporting bias related incidents, such as cultural, racial and language barriers.

The Task Force will hold its first meeting within the next two weeks.

    
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