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Groups vote on Kansas City Police chief’s next selection


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A day after Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith confirmed his intention to retire in 2022, the focus is starting to shift to future leadership.

Community groups and individuals are starting to decide what kind of leadership they would like to see.

“I hope they’re not biased when it comes to the gender of people, the races, the ethnicities of people,” said Whitney Lawson, a Kansas City resident.

Late Tuesday night, Smith told FOX4’s John Holt that he would be retiring in 2022.

“We demand to be at the table when the selection process begins,” said Pastor Darron Edwards, co-founder of Getting to the Heart of the Matter. “We want to be at the table. We don’t just list them and deliver them as sheets of paper. “

Edwards said he recently met with other community activists and current police officers to set some requirements for the next leader.

They listed them as:

  • Must have experience in dealing with diversity in communities.
  • Guardian mentality with all communities.
  • Open door policy to community and leaders and willing to listen and respect all voices.
  • Offers out-of-the-box bottom-up solutions and strategies within the department dealing with community issues.
  • Believes in the financial transparency of the police service.
  • Believes in making the bad people in the department accountable.
  • The next leader must come from out of state (including Kansas).
  • Every resume from the current department should be rejected.
  • The next leader should have a documented history of building community engagement, partnerships, and empowerment boards involved in the community.

“We want to make sure the best cop comes up with a guardian mentality and then works over the years to change that culture from a warrior mindset to a guardian structure where we believe people feel protected and serve not just in the north. from the river, but south of the river as well, ”said Edwards.

Edwards said when the Council of Police Commissioners begins the selection process, it must hear from people on the south side of town who often have contact with the police.

Others hope the council will pick a new leader with good intentions.

“Make sure they don’t pick someone based on politics and money,” Lawson said.

FOX4 has contacted the board regarding the process for selecting a new leader and has not received a response from them. We know from past experiences; the council organizes community forums to nominate two candidates for the post of chief of police.