Last Friday afternoon the city’s Board of Police Commissioners announced their choice for Police Chief in Kansas City. That choice was Major Rick Smith, and this PD-supporting news-dog couldn’t be more pleased. Judging from the churlish exit interview of the Norman, Oklahoma candidate, the Board absolutely made the right choice.
Smith has almost 30 years of law enforcement experience including experience at East and Central Patrol Zones, where working with active neighborhoods is part of the daily gig. Smith worked with Scarritt Renaissance in dealing with the notorious Tyler Sutton, who took up residence on Gladstone Boulevard and dispensed drugs to the Avenue regulars, making life a living hell for neighbors. As Central Patrol’s Commander he enlisted the expertise of social worker Gina English and cleaned up the Country Club Plaza flash mob issue. Ask yourself, when was the last time you heard of the violent flash mobs that wreaked havoc on the Plaza? If the name Gina English sounds familiar, it’s because this newspaper did a piece on her efforts working with the residents of a large homeless camp on the city’s west side ensuring they got plugged into the services they so desperately needed.
We’ve had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the new Chief on many occasions and the fact of the matter is we’re pretty excited about what Major Smith brings to the table; not only what that means to the hundreds of sworn officers on the force, but to the citizens of Kansas City.