Kansas City, MO, Police Chief Rick Smith announced Monday night he has disbanded the Missing Persons Cold Case Squad because of an ongoing shortage of police officers.

Smith, who is retiring April 22, explained at a South Kansas City Alliance meeting the move came on the heels of the latest budget negotiations, Fox4 reports.

“We used to have a missing person cold case squad, and just two weeks I disbanded that to put them back into regular homicide and regular assault squad because we don’t have enough regular detectives,” Smith said.

“Which means there are hundreds of families within the urban core who are longing for answers who cannot get these answers because it seems that it not a priority for current the police chief or for KCPD,” United Believers Community Church Pastor Darron Edwards said.

According to the chief, there are now 1,140 officers, down from a peak of 1,387 during his 4.5 year tenure.

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