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Who is Gov. Mike Parson's newest pick for the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners?

The February 20, 2024, meeting of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.
Peggy Lowe
KCUR 89.3
The February 20, 2024, meeting of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.

Gov. Mike Parson appointed Madeline Romious, an AT&T vice president, to the five-member board that oversees the police department. Parson has chosen all four of the appointed board members, while Mayor Quinton Lucas fills the fifth slot.

Gov. Mike Parson has appointed an executive with ties to the Kansas City Police Department to the Board of Police Commissioners.

Parson named Madeline Romious, a regional vice president of external affairs for AT&T and a member and past chair of the Police Foundation of Kansas City, in an announcement late Friday. The foundation is a non-profit dedicated to raising funds for the department.

The five-member police board oversees a $280 million dollar annual budget, sets policies and makes employment decisions. Kansas City, the only U.S. city that doesn’t have local control of its police department, has been under state control since 1939.

Romious, who is Black, replaces Mark Tolbert, who was appointed by former Gov. Eric Greitens and was one of two Black representatives on the board – the other is Mayor Quinton Lucas. With the appointment, Parson has now named all four commissioner appointments. The fifth seat is always held by Kansas City’s mayor. Romious' appointment will need to be approved by the Missouri Senate.

Madeline Romious was appointed to the Kansas City Board of Police commissioners by Gov. Mike Parson on February 23, 2024.
Police Foundation of Kansas City
Madeline Romious was appointed to the Kansas City Board of Police commissioners by Gov. Mike Parson on February 23, 2024.

The governor’s announcement said Romious serves as chair of the Metropolitan Arts Council (now Arts KC), as secretary-treasurer of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and as a board member of PREP-KC. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Northwestern University.

Tye Grant, president and CEO of the Police Foundation, said Romious was chair of the board for two years, leading it through an extensive strategic planning process, working with the Kauffman Foundation and other community groups.

“I believe Kansas City will find her to be a new commissioner who will bring a very professional, business-like approach to her new leadership role with the board, along with an objective perspective to each growth opportunity,” Grant said.

The police board was created during the Civil War, when the state seized control in Kansas City and St. Louis. Although Kansas City approved a home-rule ordinance in 1932, by 1939 the police department was so corrupt under political boss Tom Pendergast that the Missouri governor returned the department to state control under commissioners that he appointed. St. Louis won the right to control its police force after a statewide vote in 2013.

Cathy Dean is president of the board; Dawn Cramer, vice president; and Tom Whittaker, treasurer. David Kenner was selected by members to serve as the board's secretary and attorney.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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