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Kansas City’s Public Safety Coalition ‘disappointed’ in chief of police hiring process

Darron Edwards
Posted at 4:36 PM, Dec 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-05 19:17:33-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders of Kansas City’s Public Safety Coalition said they are disappointed in the process for picking the city’s next chief of police.

“We wanted to make sure that every part of the city was represented,” said Darron Edwards, an organizer for the Kansas City Public Safety Coalition. “That’s not going to happen this Saturday.”

Edwards is also the organizer of the nonprofit "Getting to the Heart of the Matter," connecting the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department with the community.

As part of the coalition, Edwards helped host 7 listening sessions throughout the community since the city announced the departure of the city’s previous chief, Rick Smith.

“They wanted a Chief that when they go to the supermarket is approachable. They wanted a chief who could communicate with Kansas City and with the media,” Edwards said. “They wanted a collaborator that would work with the city office as well as with the prosecutor’s office. They wanted a leader who would be tough on crime and speak to the issues that affect Kansas City.”

In a statement, the coalition expressed its concerns with the hiring process.

“We are incredibly disappointed in the process announced by the Board of Police Commissioners to select the next Kansas City, Missouri Chief of Police. There apparently will be only one community engagement session.

Coalition members are unhappy that only one session will be held in one part of the city. Coalition members from the Northland, South Kansas City, and West Side were particularly concerned that their areas of the city are not being included in the process to hire someone for one of the most important jobs in our community.

Our seven listening sessions and two online surveys showed residents see community engagement and transparency as the top qualities they want in a new police chief. 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.”
Kansas City Public Safety Coalition

Edwards said he would like to see options throughout the city, meeting residents where they are.

“Since there are three finalists left, let’s have some really deep dialogue and conversation. But, you are not going to get that in one listening session,” Edwards said. “You’re not going to get how a top cop can deal with dissenting voices in one listening session. You’re not going to get a true feel of what this new leader is going to provide for our city in one listening session.”

This weekend’s Town Hall is on Saturday Dec. 10, at the Mohart Center off of Wayne Avenue from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If members of the community are not able to speak with candidate in person they can watch the event virtually. Questions must be submitted ahead of the Town Hall.