Kansas City Police Department announces finalists for police chi - KCTV5

Kansas City Police Department announces finalists for police chief

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Two finalists were announced Thursday morning. They are Mjr. Rick Smith with the Kansas City Police Department and Police Chief Keith Humphrey with the Norman, Oklahoma Police Department. Two finalists were announced Thursday morning. They are Mjr. Rick Smith with the Kansas City Police Department and Police Chief Keith Humphrey with the Norman, Oklahoma Police Department.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Kansas City is one step closer to naming its next police chief.

Two finalists were announced Thursday morning. They are Mjr. Rick Smith with the Kansas City Police Department and Police Chief Keith Humphrey with the Norman, Oklahoma Police Department.

The search for a new chief began shortly after the previous chief, Darryl Forte, announced his retirement in March.

As KC's Board of Police Commissioners searched for the next chief, nine other cities across the state were doing the same thing.

Forty-two people applied for the position in KC and 10 were eliminated early on because they were not qualified. From the 10 that were chosen, one dropped out.

Ultimately, city leaders want the person who understands Kansas City best.

“I want someone who understands the diversity of our community and how important that is,” said Leland Shurin, President of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

"We spent approximately 15 hours interviewing those people," Shurin said. "After a lot of consideration and talk, the board as a group and unanimously has picked two finalists in this process.”

You'll get your chance to meet the finalists next week. The department is holding a public meeting and you'll be able to ask them questions.

The meeting is next Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Kansas City Police Department Headquarters on 1125 Locust Street.

There were initially three finalists, but the female finalist took a job in Dallas.

Mjr. Rick Smith is currently assigned to the Central Patrol Division with the Kansas City Police department and has been in law enforcement since 1988. 

Keith Humphrey is the Chief of Police in Norman, Oklahoma, which is about 20 miles away from Oklahoma City.

Whoever is ultimately selected to lead the department faces some major issues.

The new chief will need to tackle crime, staffing and some major political issues.

Kansas City’s homicide rate has steadily increased in the past few years.

The city has had 79 this year. Compare that number to what things looked like last year in mid-July, there were 55 homicides, 41 in 2015, and 38 in 2014.

In three years, the homicide rate has more than doubled. It has gone up 63 percent. That has put Kansas City in a harsh nationwide spotlight.

The FBI singled out seven cities, including Kansas City, in its last annual report.

Kansas City police also do not have body cameras. The price tag and storage of the videos make it tough. Right now, the department has dash cameras that offer a limited perspective.

Hold times are also up.

A recent KCTV5 News investigation revealed it’s now an average wait of 31 seconds if you call for help. That’s way beyond national recommendations. Someone even spent 17 minutes on hold in June. The department plans to ask for hundreds of thousands in new funding to solve the problem.

The department also faces pressure to restructure. A recent audit found too many middle managers and not enough officers on the street. That report recommended an immediate shift

And finally, guns. It’s a huge issue for any major city. Recent state legislation relaxed the rules for gun ownership.

Both the department and the mayor opposed who can carry a gun.

The interim police chief recently blogged about kids and guns after a child shot another child on a playground. He reminded every gun locks are free and available at any patrol station. 

The president of the Fraternal Order of the Police, Lodge #99, released a statement on Thursday:

The more than 1,500 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 99 are excited to see the Board of Police Commissioners continue to take steps toward hiring a new Police Chief. 

Our members and the Kansas City community find themselves in dire need of an individual who possesses strong leadership qualities along with the experience, skill and ability to address increasing crime with a sense of urgency.  Our next Chief must understand the best and most efficient way to use the Department's resources.

The FOP trusts it will be given an important voice in the final selection process and it looks forward to working with the new Chief to help address the important issues facing the Kansas City community.

Brad Lemon

President, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #99

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