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Kansas City’s New Police Chief Will Be Making Some Changes


Major Rick Smith will be Kansas City’s new chief of police. The Board of Police Commissioners announced its decision Friday afternoon. Smith’s been on the Kansas City Police Department for 29 years. Brad Lemon, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police says the commissioners made a good call.

“The chief-elect grew up on this police department, as an officer, sergeant, captain, major.  And he's worked on a number different assignments,” says Lemon.

Smith currently commands the Central Patrol Division. Lemon says Smith plans to speed up the police board’s goal of getting more police involved in the community.

“My membership strongly supports putting more officers on the streets, and I think the community supports that,” says Lemon.

The board also wants to move toward a higher level of community policing, body cameras and perhaps more homicide detectives, according to police board President Leland Shurin. He says Smith’s familiarity with the KCPD was a plus in the hiring process.

“We thought that the internal guy would be able to hit the ground running a little faster than the external guy," says Shurin.

Smith beat Norman, Oklahoma Police Chief Keith Humphrey for the job.  Smith’s due to be sworn in August 15. He told the board that being named chief was a dream come true.

I’ve been at KCUR almost 30 years, working partly for NPR and splitting my time between local and national reporting. I work to bring extra attention to people in the Midwest, my home state of Kansas and of course Kansas City. What I love about this job is having a license to talk to interesting people and then crafting radio stories around their voices. It’s a big responsibility to uphold the truth of those stories while condensing them for lots of other people listening to the radio, and I take it seriously. Email me at frank@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @FrankNewsman.
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