© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Faith leaders want next Kansas City police chief committed to fighting racism

Ways To Subscribe
061620_rick smith.jpg_lynn horsley
Lynn Horsley
Community members are weighing-in on who should replace police Chief Rick Smith when he retires in April, 2022.

Accusations of racism in the Kansas City, Missouri police department have faith leaders calling for a culture change as the Board of Police Commissioners searches for a new chief of police.

As the search for retiring Chief of Police Rick Smith's replacement gets underway, clergy members are urging that it be a candidate from outside the department who will have zero tolerance for racism.

In a yearlong investigation by The Kansas City Star numerous former and current employees of the department accused fellow officers of racist behavior. Community members of color have also voiced concerns of harassment, discrimination and bias policing. Now faith leaders are asking for a change and for an investigation by the Department of Justice.

Pastor Emanuel Cleaver III says he was told there are current policies in place regarding discrimination, "but if they're already in place, that means they're not being followed," he said. The pastor of St. James United Methodist Church continued, "And so perhaps more than structure, it's more of a culture within the KCPD."

Stay Connected
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As Up To Date’s senior producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
As a producer for Up To Date, my goal is to inform our audience by curating interesting and important conversations with reliable sources and individuals directly affected by a topic or issue. I strive for our program to be a place that hosts impactful conversations, providing our audience with greater knowledge, intrigue, compassion and entertainment. Contact me at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.