By Paul Thompson
May 17, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Board of Police Commissioners conducted their third and final public input forum to solicit feedback on the search for a new Chief of Police on Tuesday, May 16 at the Mohart Multipurpose Center. Current Chief of Police Darryl Forté has announced his retirement effective May 20.
Commissioners David Kenner, Alvin Brooks, Leland Shurin, and Mayor Sly James took comments from constituents for more than an hour. Damon Daniel, the executive director of the ad-hoc group Against Crime, recommended that a full-time position be created that focuses on the retention and recruitment of minority police officers, noting that only about 14% of law enforcement officers in Kansas City are African American. Daniel added that the BOPC should be looking for someone who really understands Kansas City, adding that he appreciated Chief Forte for being readily available when residents wanted to speak with him.
“One of the things I really liked about Chief Forté was that he was accessible,” Daniel said.
Leslie Caplan, President of the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association, cited the need for the next Chief to embrace partnerships with the city’s community leaders.
“We need a Chief who uses the resources that he has effectively, and that includes partnering with neighborhoods,” said Caplan.
Fifth District Councilwoman Alissia Canady also appeared before the Commissioners, thanking them for spending the time to listen to constituents on an important issue like the hiring of a new Chief of Police. Before leaving, Canady relayed her own hopes for the next leader of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.
“What we need is someone who has good character, personal integrity, and a person who is willing to empower his staff,” said Canady.
The Board of Police Commissioners announced on Monday, May 1 that it has enlisted Ralph Andersen & Associates the conduct a nationwide search for Kansas City, Missouri’s next Chief of Police. Candidates have until May 31 to submit for the position, and a list of finalists is expected to be formalized sometime in June. The rough timeline laid out by the BOPC on May 1 calls for the search to conclude sometime before the fall of 2017.
“If you start putting artificial deadlines on a thing, then you start looking to meet the deadlines instead of doing the best job,” said James at the time. “If it takes us a year to find the best person, it will take us a year. If we can find the best person in 30 days, we’ll do that.”
On Friday, May 12, the Board of Police Commissioners announced that Deputy Chief David Zimmerman would serve as the interim Chief of Police after Chief Forté‘s May 20 retirement. The Board had previously announced that the interim chief would not come from the pool of applicants being considered to replace Forté full-time.