Alvin Brooks steps down from KC police board to serve on Hickman Mills school board

Alvin Brooks
Alvin Brooks

After serving seven years on the Kansas City police board, longtime community activist Alvin Brooks has resigned after being elected to a seat on the Hickman Mills school board.

Brooks, 85, alerted board president Leland Shurin about his decision Wednesday morning. Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Brooks to the police board in February 2010.

“I thought I brought somewhat of a unique perspective to the board, having been a police officer for 10 years,” said Brooks. “I’ve enjoyed the experience, and I hope and believe I have brought something to the board, the community, as well as the police officers.”

The former Kansas City Council member and mayor pro tem is one of three police board members whose terms have expired. Gov. Eric Greitens will select their replacements.

“Alvin Brooks, as a former Kansas City, Mo., police officer, city councilman and founder of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, brought to the police department institutional knowledge and great concern for the officers and civilian members,” said Shurin. “He is an icon of our city and will be sorely missed as a member of the Board of Police Commissioners.

“Our loss is the great gain of the Hickman Mills School District,” Shurin said.

Brooks began his career as a Kansas City police officer in 1954 during a period when there were few African-American or minorities working as officers. African-American officers were relegated to patrolling certain portions of Kansas City.

He was a police officer until 1964, leaving the force as a detective in the department’s juvenile unit.

“I have seen drastic changes within the department,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to see the appointment of an African-American police chief in Darryl Forté.”

The head of the department’s police union tweeted his good wishes for Brooks and commented on his remarkable rise from police officer to the president of the police board.

The police board launched a nationwide search for a new police chief after Forté announced he would retire at the end of May.

Brooks said he would have liked to remain on the board, especially when a new police chief is hired, but didn’t think Greitens would reappoint him.

Numerous Kansas City officials said they expect Greitens to replace Michael Rader and Angela Wasson-Hunt, the members whose terms on the police board have expired, and name others to influence the selection of a new police chief.

Prior to joining the police board, Brooks helped found Kansas City’s Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. He served as the group’s president and CEO from 1991 to 2000. In 1989, he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve on the President’s National Drug Advisory Council and was named one of America’s 1,000 Points of Light.

Brooks served on the Kansas City Council from 1999 to 2007.

“His contribution as a member of the board of police commission I’m sure has been invaluable,” said Damon Daniel, president of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. “Mr. Brooks continues to prove that he still has more to give to the community.

“Congratulations to Hickman Mills School District in selecting Alvin Brooks to serve on the board. Like everywhere he’s worked, you can expect his full commitment, wisdom, experience and compassion,” Daniel said.

Brooks was one of two people selected this week to fill vacancies on the Hickman Mills school board.

In April, Brooks became the 42nd recipient of the 2016 Harry S. Truman Public Service Award from the city of Independence. Brooks joined former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton as well as Coretta Scott King as recipients of that award.

Glenn E. Rice: 816-234-4341, @GRicekcstar