After 27 years of service to the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, Deputy Chief Kevin Masters is retiring today. I thank him for all he has done for this police department and the community. Below is a story from our latest Informant newsletter describing what he has accomplished and what he has meant to this department and Kansas City:
One of the department's youngest-ever commanders to be named deputy chief will retire from KCPD on Oct. 8 with 27 years of service.
When Deputy Chief Kevin Masters joined the police department in 1985, he had a degree in communications and journalism and dreamed of working in the Media Relations Unit.
"When I got in the field at Metro Patrol, it was a whole different story," he said. "At that point, media became a passing fancy."
He started as a dispatcher to get his foot in the door to Media, but the excitement of what he heard on the radio – as well as a couple persuasive recruiters— got him to enter the Academy. As soon as he hit the streets, Masters said he was hooked.
"It was so much fun," he said. "We were making lots of arrests. And I really like people, and I was getting to know a lot of people. Being on the streets energized me and really fit my personality."
After five years in patrol, D.C. Masters became a homicide detective. He said that assignment gave him the biggest range of emotion he has experienced.
"There is no worse feeling than going into someone's house, looking them in the eye and telling them their loved one has been killed," he said. "... But the most rewarding feeling is when you can go back to that same person and tell them you found who did it, and you're going to get justice for them."
Knowing what he went through emotionally, Masters said he made it a priority as commander of the Investigations Bureau to improve homicide detectives' quality of life. He worked with his staff to re-organize the unit in 2011 to give detectives more time and resources to solve cases as well as more time with their families. Homicide clearance rates have improved steadily since the change. Masters said that change is one of the most personally meaningful of his career accomplishments.
After he was a detective, Masters climbed the ranks quickly. Now-Retired Chief Rick Easley promoted him to deputy chief in 2002. Masters had been on the department for 17 years at the time and was 38 years old.
"Kevin was always a hard worker and extremely dependable," Easley said. "He always gave me the impression he was working hard at trying to do the right thing."
Easley said Masters could think on his feet, made good decisions and dealt well with others. But not everyone was excited to see such a new, young face as deputy chief. Masters said he faced some backlash, but he knew he'd earned the spot.
"I worked my tail off everywhere I went," he said. "I've always put in an honest day's work for an honest day's pay."
Among some of his accomplishments were the implementation and development of the Shoal Creek Patrol Division and the Mounted Patrol Unit.
Through it all, Masters said he most liked meeting people— from Fortune 500 Company CEOs to people at the end of their ropes. That's why he's looking forward to his new job as director of government relations for the Kansas City Missouri School District.
Masters will be the main point of contact for the district for elected officials at the local, state and federal levels. But what he's most excited about will be his duties building relationships between the district's schools and the neighborhoods around them. He will be trying to connect school administrators to the business owners and residents of the communities they serve.
And although Masters never worked in Media Relations at KCPD, he said he got to use the communication skills he learned in many facets of his job.
"It has been a very rewarding experience," he said. "My life has been blessed personally and professionally."
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