Some people are pushing to name the Kansas City Police Department’s new East Patrol Division station after an influential community leader, Leon Jordan.
But the City Council should resist the urge to break with a police facility tradition of not bestowing that honor on civic leaders.
Mayor Sly James has offered an idea that we and others embrace: Put Jordan’s name on the community room or some other part of the police campus, under construction at 27th Street and Prospect Avenue.
Jordan, a former police lieutenant and founder of the black political group Freedom Inc., was slain in 1970 near a lounge he owned on Prospect, down the street from the site of the new complex.
Council members will discuss the issue this morning at City Hall. Previously Jordan’s name and others came up in a public hearing held to gather ideas about what if anything to call the new police station.
However, the Police Department — unlike school and library systems, and the parks department — has not named any of its major facilities after civic leaders. The department has honored people in other ways, as when the Board of Police Commissioners named the auditorium at the Police Academy after former Chief James Corwin.
This situation is further complicated by the fact that that Jordan’s reported associations with organized crime figures likely contributed to his death, which provides good reasons to not name an entire law enforcement building after him.
Jordan helped boost the political power of black residents at a critical time in this community. He has been honored in the past for that contribution, and can be honored in the future in other ways, too.