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Interim KCPD Chief Mabin calls DOJ investigation ‘opportunity’ to improve department

KCPD Interim Chief of Police Joseph Mabin
Posted at 2:58 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 15:58:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Interim Chief of Police Joseph Mabin addressed the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s investigation into possible discriminatory employment practices within the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department on Tuesday at the Board of Police Commissioners meeting.

Mabin, who said he applied to join KCPD “over 22 years ago,” noted that one of the reasons he joined was “to ensure everyone in the community was treated fairly and impartially,” he said.

“I’ve tried to do that throughout my career, so it truly bothers me, especially as a Black commander, when people are treated or believe they have been treated unfairly because of race, color, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”

KCPD confirmed Sept. 19 that it had been notified of the investigation, which was launched after complaints about discrimination with respect to the department’s hiring and promotion.

Mabin sent a department-wide email shortly before 11 a.m. on Sept. 19 after the DOJ investigation was announced.

“We will fully cooperate with this investigation,” Mabin said, in part, in the email obtained by KSHB 41. “It is the policy and practice of the Board of Police Commissioners and the Kansas City Missouri Police Department to provide a work environment free of actual or perceived discrimination and harrassment. I am committed to ensuring every member experiences a safe and fair work environment and every applicant receives fair treatment throughout the hiring process.”

Mabin, who ended his email with information about how employees could file a complaint, reiterated that KCPD will “cooperate fully with the investigation” during the police board meeting.

He said he also “personally talked with the executive command staff” about being transparent and cooperative with DOJ investigators.

“I know this is an excellent police department made up of dedicated professionals, but I also welcome the opportunity to have someone from outside take a look at what we’re doing,” Mabin said. “I look forward to learning any areas of improvement that DOJ identifies and then implement those recommendations to make KCPD an even better place to work for all its members.”

KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas, who is one of five police board members, echoed Mabin’s call to view the investigation as an opportunity.

“It is not an everyday thing that they do these,” Lucas said. “That said, we can approach it as an opportunity to make sure that we are the best possible department that we can be for all of our officers — all of them regardless of color, gender, religion, what have you. So, I thank you for welcoming that.”

Lucas also said he wants the department to keep the public informed about the investigation and any improvements made as a result.

KCPD police board Vice President Cathy Dean encouraged “the other people in the department to follow your (Mabin’s) example,” but no board members had questions for Mabin regarding the investigation.

The Kansas City Auditor’s Office announced plans to conduct an audit of KCPD’s diversity and hiring practices in the week before the DOJ investigation, which is expected to be lengthy, came to light.