Downtown police holding cells to close

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte speaking about the Police Athletic League.By Joe Lambe

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte says the police headquarters detention unit will finally close soon.

Apparently not even the police like the grungy jail on the eighth floor that dates from 1938.

Some call it the drunk tank but a citizen can wind up there for something as minor as an outstanding traffic warrant.

Murderers and armed robbers sometimes also go there before they get transferred to the Jackson County Jail.

Forte said in his blog last week that the plan is to close the unit and detain people at the nearby county jail.

That will eliminate some redundancies, he said, because the police holding cells were never intended to house inmates more than 24 hours. Those who cannot make bond are already sent to the county jail after that, he said, where they have to be rebooked.

The Kansas City Star reported that the plan – yet to be finalized by city and county officials – builds on the 2009 agreement that closed the old city municipal corrections institution.

That past deal created space for 150 city inmates in the county jail and the new plan would expand that to up to 275 beds.

Forte said in his blog that he appreciates all the hard work done by city and county officials to close an outdated facility.

He also praised staff who spend  “their days dealing with the most belligerent and violent people in Kansas City, and they do it with respect and professionalism.”

He appreciates “their willingness and openness” in working toward this big change, he said.

It sounds like that might come pretty easy to them.

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