One man spoke about improvement he has seen when it comes to racial profiling by law enforcement, while another recalled a positive experience he had with a police officer who pulled him over for driving with an expired tag.
Others wanted to ask questions about proposed marijuana possession fines, a new police tool to detect gunshots and what police can do to prevent tailgating from drivers and provide more fun activities for youth during the summer.
On Friday, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté stopped by the Eggs & Enrichment breakfast series, a weekly opportunity started 12 years ago for citizens to meet and chat with community figures at the McDonald’s restaurant on Prospect Avenue.
Citizens who packed the back room of the restaurant used the two-hour breakfast to praise Forté’s tenure as police chief and offer their support to a man who has striven to hire more minority police officers, root out in-house bullying within the department and build upon a reputation as an accessible and approachable leader.
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The event was also an opportunity for Forté, the city’s first black police chief, to talk about his own quiet plans for improving the Kansas City Police Department.
He has met with more than 30 community groups in the past few weeks, he said, in order to gather ideas for promoting various issues. While he wants his department to be transparent, he also wants to educate the public about how department policies and state law work, and why he can’t immediately comment on active police investigations. And he will continue to be a familiar face in neighborhoods and crime scenes, he said, both on-duty and on his own time.
Racial profiling and in-house bullying, he noted, would not be tolerated by anyone in his department, he said, regardless of color. Part of that is creating consequences for people caught doing the wrong thing, he said. It also means injecting new blood into the police force.
“I’m really impressed by the people being developed now, both black and white,” Forté said. “We want 100 percent of our police officers doing what they need to do.”