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KCMO police chief tells neighborhood leaders the department has a critical need for more officers

KCPD Chief Rick Smith
Posted at 8:35 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 21:35:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Police Chief Rick Smith told neighborhood leaders Wednesday night there's an immediate need for more police officers.

Smith said it takes nearly a year to train a new officer and get that person on the street.

He and other department leaders spoke Wednesday night at a meeting with leaders from south Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhoods.

"The officer leave rate has put the department in a tight spot," Smith said.

Reasons range from the traumatic nature of the job to someone moving to a job driving a truck, the chief said.

Smith said another top priority is to reduce violent crime and get the city off the 10 most violent cities list.

"That has a very negative stigma," he said.

Even with all the challenges, Smith said in his 35 years in the department, people in Kansas City have always appreciated law enforcement.