Former Kansas City police chiefs look back - KCTV5

Former Kansas City police chiefs look back on years of achievement and conflict

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Four former police chiefs and the current chief of the Kansas City, MO, Police Department talk about the force, its history, and the very demanding job they shared in a presentation titled Top Cops on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, located at 14 W. 10th St.

Participating are former chiefs Joseph D. McNamara, Floyd D. Bartch, Richard D. Easley, and James D. Corwin, and current chief Darryl L. Forte.

Joseph D. McNamara began his law enforcement career with the NYPD walking a beat in Harlem. He became chief of the KCPD in 1973, leading the department into groundbreaking research and innovative programs. In 1976 he became chief in San Jose, CA, retiring in 1991. He is now a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Floyd D. Bartch was a member of the KCPD for 31 years and its chief from1996-1999. He has since served as a member and chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission. He brought national attention to the department through his community policing efforts which allowed officers to work closely with neighborhood associations.

Richard D. Easley grew up on Kansas City's east side and joined the KCPD in 1974, rising to command the North Patrol Division, where he oversaw creation of more than 50 neighborhood watch groups. He was a longtime member and chairman of the board overseeing the department's $600 million retirement fund. He became chief in 1999 and retired in 2004.

James D. Corwin was a member of the KCPD for 32 years and its chief from 2004-2011. He has been credited with introducing advanced technology to the department and emphasizing officer training and professional development. For his efforts the 500-seat auditorium at the force's training academy has been named the Chief James D. Corwin auditorium.

Darryl L. Forté became the KCPD's 44th chief and its first African-American chief in 2011. He is a 28-year veteran of the force.

"The police job has gotten harder. You have the threat of terrorism, you have the drug war, criminal gangs that make a fortune off selling drugs and arm themselves with high-velocity weapons and do drive-by shootings, probably create half the homicides in the city," McNamara said.

The event is presented in connection with Kansas City's Finest, an exhibit about the history of local law enforcement on display through June at the Central Library.

Admission is free. RSVP at or call 816-701-3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.

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