Police Board Reveals Two Finalists For Kansas City Police Chief

Jul 20, 2017

Major Rick Smith of the Kansas City Police Department and Chief Keith Humphrey of the Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department are the two finalists for the police chief job in Kansas City.

Leland Shurin, president of the Board of Police Commissioners, said during a press conference Thursday that there were 42 candidates. Of those, ten were disqualified by state statute and the rest were interviewed by California-based consultants Ralph Anderson and Associates.

Board members then interviewed nine candidates.

Commissioner Shurin said Major Smith and Chief Humphrey stood out.

"We think both of these men bring strong backgrounds in police work, many years of experience, leadership ability and intelligence and ability to get along with  the communities they police," he said.

There was a third finalist, Detroit Deputy Chief Ulysha Renee Hall.  This week she accepted an offer to become chief of the Dallas police department.

The public is invited to a question and answer session with the two finalists on Thursday, July 27. Questions will be taken in advance of the meeting. They can be submitted via email, mail or in person to the Kansas City Police Department or the Board of Police Commissioners.

In discussing the candidates, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, a member of the board, said the police commissioners talked extensively about Kansas City's high rate of homicide and violence and what strategies might be used to address the problem.  He said the city would not be looking for someone to carry on a previous legacy, an indirect reference to the style in which former Chief Darryl Forte ran the department.

"We're not looking for someone to come in and be somebody else," Mayor James said. "We're looking for someone to come in and do the things necessary...who's willing to be engaged to the fullest extent possible with communities...and we expect things to get better, not worse or stay the same."

The new chief will succeed interim Chief David Zimmerman, a veteran of the Kansas City force.   Zimmerman said he  did not apply for the job.

Former Chief Darryl Forte announced his resignation in March, saying he plans to attend law school.

Laura Ziegler is a community engagement reporter and producer. You can reach her on Twitter @laurazig or email lauraz@kcur.org.