What People Want in a New KCMO Chief of Police
Honesty and integrity. Engaged in the community. Reduce violent crime. Openly communicate “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
May 24, 2022
Those are just a few of what people want in a new Kansas City Missouri Police Chief. Full report findings of the Kansas City Police Chief Community Listening Sessions and Community Survey are being presented to the Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday, May 24, 9:30 a.m. at the Board’s May meeting, located at KCPD Headquarters, 1125 Locust, in the Community Room. This will be followed by a media availability at 1 p.m. with coalition members in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Board Room, 30 W. Pershing, on the first floor of historic Union Station.
Beginning in March, a coalition of sixteen business, civic, and interfaith groups organized and hosted seven listening sessions across the city and issued a survey gathering input from Kansas Citians on what they wanted to see in the next Chief of Police.
Approximately 350 people attended the sessions. In addition, 1,374 people completed the surveys. Surveys were made available to both the general public and members of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department.
Listening session results:
Nine consistent themes came out of the coalition’s seven Listening Sessions, held in all parts of the city:
- The new Chief needs to be front facing and engaged in the community
- The new Chief needs to be an effective communicator
- Data and best practices must be transparent and a key component of the new Chief’s strategy and vision
- The new Chief must develop and communicate a clear vision and strategy for the department
- The new Chief needs to address perceived issues of underlying racism within the department
- The new Chief needs to have a priority focus on training, with a particular emphasis on de-escalation and racial bias training
- The new Chief needs to prioritize mental health within both the community and the department
- The new Chief needs to re-examine and improve the internal investigation process
- The new Chief must have the ability to navigate the political landscape
Citizen Survey results:
Two surveys were circulated by the coalition – one to the general public and a second to members of the KCMO Police Department.
Analysis of the community surveys indicates that residents' strongest desires for a Police Chief center around community engagement and trustworthiness.
The top responses for priorities and qualifications were building trust in our community and transparency and openness, respectively. Officer accountability was a top three response in both leadership qualities and priorities. Community complaints of officers and instances of misconduct, as well as the internal investigation process were central themes in both the surveys and listening sessions.
One of the top qualifications in a new Chief around experience utilizing de-escalation techniques directly relates to holding officers accountable and reducing opportunities for misconduct to occur.
Police Survey results:
Both the community and department personnel have a shared vision for the next Chief of Police, with both naming honesty and integrity as the most sought-after leadership qualities in the new Chief. The surveys also reveal a similar desire for a Chief who values positive community interactions and develops meaningful solutions to community problems. Building trust and reducing homicides and violent crime were also high-level priorities for both the public and officers.
While there are many common points of alignment, there were also differences in perspective. Specifically, the community placed greater emphasis on department diversity, equity, and inclusion, while department personnel indicated a greater desire for a fair and equitable Chief who promotes staff development, training, and succession planning. Officer retention was also a greater priority according to the survey responses from within the department. These differences are not surprising, given the officers’ role as members of the department.
Following the BOPC meeting, coalition members will be available to speak to the media at 1 p.m. in the KC Chamber Board Room, located in the southeast corner of the first floor of historic Union Station, 30 W. Pershing.
“This is the first time all of these coalition members have come together to work toward a common goal,” said Reardon. “This is an example of what we can do working side by side to ensure our community has a chance for their voices to be heard.”
The 16 members of the coalition include:
- Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City
- Black Chamber of Commerce
- Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
- Downtown Council
- Getting to the Heart of the Matter
- Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
- Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce
- Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Hispanic Economic Development Corporation
- KC Common Good
- Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce
- Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Northeast KC Chamber of Commerce
- Prospect Business Association
- South Kansas City Alliance
- South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce