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Expert explains possible next steps in DOJ investigation into KCPD

Posted at 4:38 PM, Sep 20, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A criminal justice professor says that an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department could last months.

The DOJ announced Monday it's investigating KCPD over its employment practices and allegations of discrimination against Black officers and applicants.

On Monday morning, the DOJ sent a letter informing KCPD, the Board of Police Commissioners and the Missouri Attorney General's Office of its intent to investigate.

"It’s not designed to investigate an isolated event," said Ken Novak, a criminal justice professor at UMKC. "It’s designed to investigate some type of pattern of behavior, discriminatory behavior that may exist within a police department.”

Novak said the DOJ investigation could look into hiring decisions, promotions and how people are treated on the job.

“If a pattern of behavior is identified, then very often police departments are asked to work with the Department of Justice to identify what types of problems are involved, where it came from and set up new processes within the department to make sure that type of behavior is either eliminated, or is reduced significantly moving forward," Novak said.

Novak cautions people looking for a quick result from the investigation to be patient.

"Federal investigations tend to be very thorough and so that typically will take time," he said.