Responding to a big push from Kansas City’s black community, the City Council voted 12-0 on Thursday to name the new East Patrol campus in honor and memory of local civil rights legend Leon M. Jordan.
“He was a dynamic leader,” said Councilman Jermaine Reed, who championed the new name for the campus, which will include a crime lab and police station at 27th Street and Prospect Avenue.
Construction on the $74 million campus should be completed by the end of next year.
African-American community leaders began urging the city months ago to name the new East Patrol police station after Jordan, who was a pioneering black detective on the Kansas City Police Department in the 1950s and who co-founded the African-American political club Freedom Inc. in 1962.
He also served three terms in the Missouri House and was running for a fourth term when he was killed in 1970 outside the Green Duck Lounge and Grill, his Prospect Avenue tavern. That tavern is just north of where the East Patrol campus is being built.
Kansas City’s police stations traditionally are named for their geographic location, and many people thought the city should stick with that practice. So Reed recommended a compromise in which the entire campus would be named after Jordan but the station will still be called East Patrol.
African-American community leaders in the audience Thursday, including Bruce Watkins Jr. and Rosemary Lowe, applauded the council’s vote.