Kansas City police commissioners will have a series of community forums to receive citizens’ input about who should be selected to be the city’s next police chief.
Police Chief Darryl Forté, the first African-American to lead the department, unexpectedly announced in March that he plans to step down on May 20. Forté told The Star that he plans to take a law school admission test and attend law school.
Police commissioners said they would conduct a national search to find a new police chief.
The board has hired a national search firm, Ralph Andersen & Associates, to help. One of four that submitted bids for the job, the firm will identify four or five candidates for the board.
Several internal and external candidates are expected to apply. The deadline to apply is May 31. The board will meet with the firm to review the candidates and select the finalists. The new police chief is expected to be selected by late August or early September.
The community meetings will be conducted May 8 at Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods, Arbor Room, Campus Center (CC10), 2601 N.E. Barry Road; May 15 at Avila University, Whitfield Conference Room, 11901 Wornall Road; and May 16 at Mohart Multipurpose Center, 3200 Wayne Ave. All begin at 6:30 p.m.
Board president Leland Shurin said he looks forward to hearing “what the public believes is appropriate and helpful to us in the selection process.”
Mayor Sly James said it could take months, not weeks, to select a new police chief.
“The goal here is not to do this fast but to do it right,” James said. “We are not focused on any specific individual. We are focused on finding the best possible chief we can whether that is here locally or elsewhere and getting them sworn.
“The goal here is find someone who can help us to address the issues of violence in this city and other things but to make sure we continue to have an excellent police department,” he said.
An interim police chief will be chosen before Forté’s last day. The person chosen as the interim chief will not be one of the finalists.
“We are hoping to find a chief that has worked with labor hand-in-hand to try to fix the city and make sure that is done in a way that is fair and consistent,” said Sgt. Brad Lemon, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99.
Forté, 55, became the city’s 44th police chief nearly six years ago. He has been credited for his leadership during a period where tensions between police and African-Americans escalated last year after a number of fatal police shootings.