Longtime civil rights activist Alvin Brooks is stepping down as a Kansas City Police Commissioner so he can serve on the Hickman Mills Board of Education.
Brooks, 85, says it was time. His term is about to expire, and he doesn’t think Republican Gov. Eric Greitens will reappoint him.
“I’ve been in the school district close to 30 years,” Brooks says, adding that the district has only provisional accreditation from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “Not that I come to the school board and can do so much to bring back that accreditation, but I do think I can support the new superintendent.”
He’s talking about Yolanda Cargile, who takes over July 1 for Dennis Carpenter. Carpenter is leaving the district for the top schools job in neighboring Lee’s Summit.
Brooks, a former police detective, fought against racism and the systemic inequality that relegated black families to Kansas City’s poorest neighborhoods. He worked tirelessly to build trust between his community and law enforcement to stop violence on the East Side, starting the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime in the 1970s.
He leaves as the Kansas City Police Department begins its search for a new police chief.
Brooks was elected Wednesday night to fill one of two vacant seats on the Hickman Mills School Board. Board members Darrell Curls and Byron Townsend both resigned this spring.
Brooks hasn’t ruled out a possible run for school board in the future, especially if he thinks the district is on track to regain full accreditation.
“If I find out that there’s a good process going on and there’s a good chance we can do it, I might then run for a seat, but I’m not sure at this time,” Brooks says.
Catherine Wheeler contributed to this report.
Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.