Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has appointed two new members to the Kansas City police board: a minister and a former federal prosecutor.
Bishop Mark C. Tolbert and Nathan F. Garrett will replace Angela Wasson-Hunt and Michael Rader, whose terms have expired. Longtime board member Alvin Brooks also recently resigned to join the Hickman Mills School Board.
Tolbert and Garrett are scheduled to be sworn in when the police board meets on Tuesday.
“It is not productive to lose Angela Wasson-Hunt, Mike Rader and Alvin Brooks when we are in the process of selecting a new chief of police,” board president Leland Shurin said. “Their experience, institutional knowledge and extensive understanding of the department would have been very beneficial in making this important decision.
“I welcome our new commissioners and look forward to working with them. I am sure they will quickly catch up on the details of the many issues we face as we go forward in the process of selecting a new chief,” Shurin said.
Some civic and community leaders say Greitens wants to name board members who will allow him to influence the selection of a new police chief. Kansas City has the only police department in the nation that is not run by local officials.
The police board launched a nationwide search for a new chief after Darryl Forté announced he would retire at the end of May.
Tolbert’s name was among those that state Sen. Kiki Curls, a Kansas City Democrat, submitted to the governor’s office for potential nominees to the police board.
Any appointments Greitens makes to the police board will require the Senate’s approval when it returns in January for the 2018 session.
Since 1989, Tolbert has served as senior pastor of Victorious Life Church at 34th Street and the Paseo. He also has served as president of the Concerned Clergy Coalition of Greater Kansas City.
Tolbert could not be reached for comment. However, Damon Daniel, president of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, said he was pleased with the governor’s decision to appoint Tolbert.
“Having a faith leader like Bishop will hopefully bring a moral voice and diverse lens to speak to the many issues facing the department,” Daniel said.
Garrett, who turns 48 later this month, began his career as a police officer in West Plains, Mo. He became a prosecutor in Howell County and later a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper.
“There are a lot of important decisions on the horizon, and I am hopeful that I can meaningfully contribute to helping make good ones,” Garrett said.
He later joined the FBI and worked at the Dallas office. While there, Garrett became a special assistant United States attorney, and his responsibilities included investigating and prosecuting national security and counterintelligence cases.
Garrett left the FBI after five years and became a full-time assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the Dallas office. Garrett transferred to the Kansas City office, where he worked until 2008, serving as head of the office’s national security unit.
He currently operates a private law firm with former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves.
“I know there are a lot of important issues facing the board, undoubtedly given the importance of the police department, the size and complexity of it, the various needs and perceived priorities. I just hope my experience in life will be helpful to the community of decision makers,” Garrett said.