KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The interim chief of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, Joseph Mabin, was sworn in Friday following the retirement of former chief Rick Smith.
Now the search for a new, permanent chief is underway, even as the city navigates another violent year.
"There's two main priorities: reducing violent crime and building trust, strengthening relationships with the community," Mabin said. "And as for violent crime, I've already started. I met with the prosecutor the other day. We're going to be working on some things."
His second priority has the attention of community leaders across the city who have conducted listening sessions with constituents of all backgrounds.
"So far from the data we've collected, one of the most obvious things is that they want someone that they can recognize in the grocery line and not just in city headlines. Someone who goes to civic events, church socials, someone that they can meet on the street and know their name and who they are," said Pastor Darron Edwards of United Believers Community Church.
Bobbi Baker-Hughes of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce wants more transparency.
"I think some of the biggest things that we heard were sharing more information. The good, the bad, the ugly, perhaps on a dashboard so that people can go in and see what is happening, where are we on officers, where are we on crime," Baker-Hughes said. "I think those things exist, those stats exist, just making it available for you and me to go in and take a peek at."
She also hopes for more unity within the community and officers in truly working together to create change.
"Community policing needs to be better defined because it really does involve the community, not just officers in the community," Baker-Hughes said. "But the community really working closely with those officers that are assigned to our communities."
KCMO City Hall has not identified a firm timeline of when the search for a new chief will conclude, but KSHB 41 will continue to monitor the process, including candidates, cost and when a final decision will be made.
"There's much at stake. There's much that we need to talk about," Edwards said. "There are difficult conversations that need to be had, and it's okay to agree to disagree, but let's agree on that we want Kansas City to be a safer city in every zip code."