City of Independence, Missouri

City continues dialogue and highlights ongoing efforts to work with African American community

In 2017, the City of Independence announced the new Independence for All Strategic Plan. This plan has acted as a road map for policies, programs and initiatives over the last four years but it has also created an opportunity for important conversations.

“Four years ago, the City Council adopted a community vision and strategic plan that we named Independence for All,” Mayor Eileen Weir said. “Independence for All is not a slogan, but a commitment to work every day to make our city one that is welcoming and accessible to everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The events of the past week, and specifically the murder of George Floyd, demands that we broaden and deepen our commitment to Independence for All.

Black lives matter. I am proud of the actions taken in recent years to engage our community in discussions on race such as establishing the Mayor’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, revising Affirmative Action policies, and creating a law enforcement position on our Human Relations Commission. But we must do better.

I want to thank our community for your peaceful protests. Your lawful actions speak volumes, and you are being heard. Thank you to the men and women of the Independence Police Department for serving and protecting our citizens, property, and visitors. I appreciate your professionalism and dedication to our city.”

Mayor Weir has called her Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for a special meeting Monday, June 8, at 2:30 p.m. to focus on the important discussion of race and law enforcement. The Task Force will meet in the Independence Police Department Headquarters as well as members of the IPD Community Relations Committee to review ongoing policies and procedures within the department in light of the current events.

“Citizens have the right to be angry and our law enforcement officers are shaken by the actions taken during the arrest and senseless death of George Floyd,” Chief Brad Halsey said. “This is not acceptable policing and we will not tolerate such actions to take place here.

Over the last several years we have worked hard to improve this police department by increasing mandatory training and creating stronger relationships with members of the community. I am proud of the network we have built which includes the NAACP and Independence Ministerial Alliance. These groups act as advisors and partners when we are preparing to make new policies or work in new areas of our community.

But this conversation is not over and will not be anytime soon. I look forward to working with Mayor Weir, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and our citizens to ensure their concerns are heard and appropriate actions are taken to let all of our citizens, visitors and business owners know they are safe and protected in our community.”

As community meetings are scheduled, dates and times will be published for the public. If citizens have concerns they would like to share with the City, they are encouraged to email community@indepmo.org.