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Kansas City, Missouri, Board of Police Commissioners announce 3 finalists for chief of police vacancy

Finalists to replace Rick Smith include an internal candidate; 2 from out of state
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Stacey Graves.jpg
Scott Ebner.jpg
DeShawn Beaufort.jpg
Posted at 1:02 PM, Dec 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-05 19:17:18-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, Board of Police Commissioners announced the three finalists Monday who are in consideration to become the city's next chief of police.

Of the finalists, only KCPD Deputy Chief Stacey Graves comes from within the department. The other two candidates, Philadelphia Police Department Inspector DeShawn Beaufort and retired New Jersey State Police Lt. Col. Scott Ebner, are from outside the department.

With assistance from a search firm, the five-person police board received 21 applications for the job, including 11 from people of color and women, according to a release from KCPD.

The KCPD police board recently interviewed several candidates to narrow its list down to the final three candidates to replace former Chief of Police Rick Smith retired in April.

Interim Chief of Police Joseph Mabin, who has filled in since Smith's retirement, previously announced he was not going to apply for the job on a permanent basis.

Beaufort, Ebner and Graves are set to take part in a town hall from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Mohart Center, 3200 Wayne Ave. in KCMO

It will be the public's only chance to interact with the chief of police candidates before the Board of Police Commissioners makes the hire.

Questions for candidates can be submitted online and those who can’t make the in-person event Saturday will be able to watch the community forum via YouTube.

The Public Safety Coalition, a collection of community groups organized by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, released a statement denouncing the fact that the police board planned only one public forum for the candidates.

"We are incredibly disappointed in the process announced by the Board of Police Commissioners to select the next Kansas City, Missouri, Chief of Police," the statement said.

The coalition noted that its seven listening sessions and two online surveys about the hiring process consistently showed that the public valued community engagement and transparency in a new chief of police.

"Unfortunately, the community's level of continued engagement in this process will be severely limited by the BOPC decision to offer just one opportunity to hear from the three finalists," the coalition said.

Graves may be a familiar face to the public, having previously served as one of the department's public information officers.

In that role, she provided information to the media at countless crime scenes and also answered questions about other KCPD issues and initiatives. She currently commands KCPD's Patrol Bureau, overseeing oversees all six patrol division stations as well as the Traffic and Special Operations divisions.

Graves has also been part of the Drug Enforcement Unit, Career Criminal Squad and worked as a patrol officer. She started her KCPD career as a records clerk in 1997.

Graves earned an executive master of business administration degree from Benedictine College and a bachelor's degree in Administration of Justice from the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

The other two finalists hail from the East Coast.

Ebner spent 27 years with the New Jersey State Police, served as chief of staff, deputy superintendent of investigations, internal affairs commander and as a detective in the criminal investigation office.

He recently applied for police-chief openings in several other cities including Aurora, Colorado; Prescott Valley, Arizona; Honolulu; and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In an interview with the city of Aurora on its YouTube page, Ebner said police departments need to recruit more officers that represent the community, when asked about how to reduce crime.

"The community has to know they can come to you and feel safe that they can give you information," he said.

Ebner holds a master's degree in human resources management, training and development, a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and graduated from the FBI National Academy.

Beaufort's duties with the the Philadelphia police include managing the Delaware Valley Intelligence and Fusion Center. He also has experience in community policing and narcotics during 25 years with the department.

Beaufort got a promotion to manage Internal Affairs, the third-highest rank in the department, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2021. He was subsequently investigated and demoted by his own division after an off-duty road-rage incident.

Beaufort said a man threatened him while he was pulling out of a drugstore parking lot, but it's unclear what what that investigation found.

He also previously was a candidate for police chief for Miami and Nashville.

Beaufort graduated from the FBI National Academy and the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.