Crime

Terry Zeigler named new police chief in Kansas City, Kan.

As the newly named police chief in Kansas City., Kan., Terry Zeigler was congratulated by human resources director Renee Ramirez at Tuesday’s announcement at the Unified Government building in Kansas City, Kan.
As the newly named police chief in Kansas City., Kan., Terry Zeigler was congratulated by human resources director Renee Ramirez at Tuesday’s announcement at the Unified Government building in Kansas City, Kan. The Kansas City Star

Assistant Police Chief Terry Zeigler was named Tuesday as the new police chief of Kansas City, Kan.

The appointment of Zeigler was announced by Doug Bach, administrator of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan. Bach that said a national search was conducted and that dozens of people expressed interest in heading the 500-member department.

Zeigler replaces Ellen Hanson, the former Lenexa police chief who served as the department’s interim chief for about a year after the retirement of Rick Armstrong.

Hanson said she has worked closely with Zeigler and credits him with many positive strides made by the department.

“He is dedicated to his officers and to the community,” she said. “I see a very bright future for the Police Department and the community under his leadership.”

Bach, who became county administrator about eight months ago, said he asked Hanson to stay on for the whole year to give himself more time to fill what he said was one of the most important positions he will be asked to consider.

Zeigler and four other finalists underwent an extensive battery of interviews before the final decision was made, he said.

Zeigler joined the department in 1990 and has been an assistant chief since 2010, overseeing the department’s operations bureau.

He said he was taking over a good department and hopes to make it a great department that can serve as a model for others across the country.

Zeigler praised Hanson and said he will also emphasize efforts to build stronger relationships between the department and the community.

“She put us on a new path that I want to continue,” he said.

Among his first priorities will be to reorganize the department to make it more efficient and effective in fighting crime, he said. That will include efforts to beef up the department’s community policing initiative.

Zeigler also intends to bolster efforts to recruit potential officers from local, minority communities.

With the use of body cameras a big topic in the news, Zeigler said he foresees the department someday using them. A committee is studying some of the legal and constitutional issues surrounding their use, he said.

Ultimately, Zeigler said he had a simple reason for seeking the chief’s job.

“I enjoy serving people,” he said.

The other four finalists were Maj. Vince Davenport, acting director of criminal investigations for the department; Randall Hundley, a deputy police chief in Kansas City, Mo.; Mark McCrory, deputy chief of police in Tulsa, Okla.; and Richard Zapal, a police division commander in Savannah, Ga.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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