To Replace Chief Forté, Kansas City Police Commissioners Launch Nationwide Search

May 1, 2017

Kansas City Mayor Sly James won’t commit to a timeline for hiring the next chief of police.

"The goal isn't to do this fast,” James said at a news conference at police headquarters Monday morning. “The goal is to do it right. If it takes us a year to find the best person, it’ll take us a year. If we can find the best person in 30 days, we’ll do that.

“But we’re not going to set a deadline.”

The Board of Police Commissioners has retained Ralph Andersen & Associates to conduct a nationwide search. Chief Darryl Forté announced earlier this year he would retire, effective May 20.

The outgoing police chief is known for showing up at crime scenes on his motorcycle on his days off.

“We’ll want to find somebody who has a personality that they can get along and they can be out in the community and be known in the community and build trust in the community,” James said.

James would  like the city to hire someone who has implemented a community policing plan elsewhere and is willing to work with the Kansas City No Violence Alliance on focused deterrence.

Commissioner Al Brooks said the next police chief needs to have experience working with multiple bargaining units and coordinating across departments.

“We’re sure some qualified people come from smaller police departments, but (this is) a city of almost a half million people,” Brooks said. “How they relate to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in their area, the FBI, the ATF ... We’ll be looking for someone that has that kind of experience.”

Applications will be accepted through the end of the month. An interim chief hasn’t been selected yet. Whoever is picked will not be in the running for Forté’s job.

“There’s no rush. There will be someone here minding the store on the 20th,” James said. “Who that may be, we don’t know yet.”

Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.