Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gaining insight from former mayors, police commissioners and chiefs

Today, a group of people who have been very important to the Kansas City Missouri Police Department came together to learn about the Department’s current initiatives and issues and give their input. This group included current and former members of the Board of Police Commissioners (including former mayors) and former Chiefs of Police. It was a treat to visit with everyone from the first female police commissioner – Faye Werner, who served from 1973 to 1976 – to former mayors Charles Wheeler and Richard Berkley.

Our command staff tries to have a luncheon like this at least once a year because these people still have a strong stake in Kansas City and its police department. They have their fingers on the pulse of the community and are a valuable source of input for us. Some of our topics of conversation included:

• The potential renewal of the quarter-cent Public Safety Sales Tax. Originally approved by voters in 2002, the tax is set to expire next year. We’re trying to get the renewal of the tax on the August 2010 ballot. By the time the current tax sunsets, it will have paid for three new patrol division stations (including the opening of the city’s sixth patrol division – Shoal Creek), the Kansas City Regional Police Academy, a Special Operations Division and debt service for a new radio system, among other things.

• The status of our recent and current capital projects, like the Academy and the new Metro Patrol Division (set to open around May of this year) and the new South Patrol/Special Operations Division complex (which is now in the design phase).

• The budget and how it has impacted our staffing levels and operations.

• Crime rates and trends throughout the city.

• Trends in professional law enforcement.

It was an informative time for everyone involved and a great opportunity to draw on the vast knowledge and experience these past and present civil servants have to offer. Below are the names of everyone who attended, who are pictured above:

Front row – left to right:
Current BOPC Secretary/Attorney Mischa Buford Epps (2009 to present)
First Lady Commissioner Faye Werner (1973-1976)
Former Commissioner Stacey Daniels-Young (1995-2002)
Former Commissioner Angela Wasson-Hunt (2003-2005)

Second row – left to right:
Former Mayor Richard Berkley (1979-1990)
Former Commissioner Terry Brady (2005-2009)
Current Board President Mark Thompson (2006-present)
Former Mayor Charles Wheeler (1973-1978)
Former Chief Floyd Bartch (1995-1999)

Third row – left to right:
Former Chief Richard Easley (1999-2004)
Former Secretary/Attorney Albert Riederer (1994-1996)
Former Commissioner Dennis Eckold (1998-2002)
Former Chief Larry Joiner (1984-1990)
Former Commissioner Bailus Tate (1987-1994)
Former Commissioner John Dillingham (1991-1994)
Current Board Vice-President Karl Zobrist (2000-present)
Former Commissioner’s Counsel W.H. Bates (1961-1965)
Current Commissioner Patrick McInerney (2009-present)
Former Commissioner Jeffrey Simon (1996-1999)
Current Chief James Corwin (2004-present)

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