By Greg Reeves
It's hard to make Al Brooks angry, but the "Leawood Dead Pool" has succeeded. That's the group of Leawood public works employees who made an office pool out of the final tally of homicides in Kansas City in 2005.
I spoke this afternoon with Brooks, an ex-cop who is now an at-large City Council member and mayor pro-tem. Here's what he said about the pool:
- "I thought it was the most outrageous thing that I’ve heard of in recent years. How do you play a game with people’s lives? With life and death? Have you heard what the spread was? You’ve got to have from this point to that point, like from 100 to 125. It’s 110 now. So I’ve got 110, I want it to stay at 110. But if you’ve got 116, you say, ‘Come on! We need six more homicides!’
- "That’s crazy. That is most disrespectful of the family members. Wasn’t Ali Kemp killed in Leawood? Wouldn’t it be horrible if they did this in their own community and said, ‘How many more homicides are we going to have in Leawood?’ How would Roger (Kemp, father of Ali Kemp) feel about that?
- "Regardless of the circumstances their loved one was in, whether it was drug-dealing or a prostitute or whatever the case might be, they are loved just as much as anyone else’s child is loved or loved one is loved.
- "The thing that I think bothers me the most is that you make a game with people’s lives. If it hasn’t reached your number, then you hope somebody else will be killed so that you will win the $50 pot."
Eight to 10 Leawood employees were suspended for one or two weeks in the case.
- "I think it should have been much harsher than that," Brooks said. "If that had happened on this side with some of our city employees, if I was asked, I would say they need to be looking for another job."