KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 48th Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department chief in 148 years of existence is 48-year-old Stacey Graves.
The 25-year veteran of the department sat down exclusively with KSHB 41 anchor Dia Wall in her first week on the job to share her vision for KCPD.
Chief Graves is the first woman to be named chief of KCPD, but shared she "didn’t get this job because of my gender."
"I got it because I have the qualifications, I have the experience and I have the personality, I guess you’d say, or the collaborative leadership style, the servant mindset to get this job done in the way that it should be," Graves said.
KCMO is battling high homicide rates and a strained relationship with the community, and Graves hopes to bridge the gap.
“When I’m asked, 'How do you think the police department will look a year from now? Five years from now?' It’s the community and the police department together," she said. "We’ve got to stop this adversarial relationship that we have.
"We have to be part of the community, and the community has to be part of us. We have to start by listening.”
But she's aware that there are times ahead that will not be "perfect."
"There’s going to be times where it doesn’t go right. We already know that. It’s not if, it’s when," she said. "So we need to have these intentional conversations when we’re not in crisis so when we do have a crisis or a tragedy or a situation that didn’t go right, we can already have those established relationships where we can sit down and have those difficult conversations.
"There’s nothing I’m afraid to talk about. I'm okay being uncomfortable because I feel like you’ve got to be uncomfortable to get past it and learn from it and grow from it.”
KSHB 41 inquired how Chief Graves plans to measure success in her first year on the job.
"Success in my first year would be that the police and the community have a better relationship," Graves said. "That we each value each other. That we each listen to each other. I would also say I want our members of the police department to feel valued and supported internally and externally.”
Graves ended her interview with an invitation to the community.
“Watch. Come with us. Come be part of it" she said. "Come be part of this positive policing movement. I just feel like that’s what everybody wants, to get along, to work together and to make the city better.”