New KCPD chief outlines new direction, wants more officers on streets

Posted at 2:22 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 19:16:51-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith outlined 30 changes he wants to see to the department in a meeting with his command staff.

Despite a new study recommending basically the same patrol force, Smith plans to meet with his deputy chiefs to find ways to get more officers back on the streets as soon as possible.

"We've been really solid on the one point over and over is that we don't have enough police officers on the street," said Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon.

According to his new directives, Smith wants the department to be patrol based with everything revolving around patrol.

Lemon says it's a welcome change because the number of KCPD officers on the streets has dropped by 130 in less than 10 years and violence has gone up.

"It's not acceptable, we can't continue to run like this," he said. "Officer safety you know is at an all time low," Lemon added.

Other directives include more training in areas like crisis intervention and ethics.

The chief also says there will be no working from home for any department member.

He also wants to suspend the "Hot Spots" program which Lemon says takes officers in critical roles like homicide detectives away from their jobs to interact with the community for three days every six months.

"That's just insanity," Lemon said.

Smith also removed comp time from his contract. So he won't earn more money for extra work.

That decision is in sharp contrast to former Chief Darryl Forte who retired with more than $230,000 in comp time money as part of nearly $500,000 in comp, sick and vacation money he was owed at retirement.

For Lemon, he's hoping these changes will fix what the communities most critically need.

"We've got to find a way to combat violent crime," he said.

The 41 Action News Investigators did ask to speak to Smith about his list of 30 new directives. While he wasn't available, a spokeswoman says he plans to speak with the news media soon.