New KCPD chief has history of innovative proactive policing at two urban core divisions he lead

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- His booming laugh fills the hallways at KCPD’s Central Patrol. Major Richard Smith has a lot to smile about in the days as a finalist for the chief’s position at KCPD.

Smith has 29 years of service with the department, having worked in almost every department. As the top cop at two of the urban core divisions, Smith says he has implemented innovative proactive policing. At Central Patrol, Smith hired a Social Service Coordinator, who is embedded with the officers for the first time in department history.

In one case, a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder had been threatening his neighbors and police officers were getting nowhere with him.

"Gina says let me take a stab at it and I said okay, as long as you go with an officer, do what you can," Smith told the Social Service Coordinator, who went to the man’s house and was invited in.

"Right there the whole threat was gone. Now it was, 'can we get him some help?'” said Smith of the encounter. “Within three days she had him services, contacted his mother, everything got handled the way it should have been but it was much more than a five-minute fix that the police could do at the residence."

Having success with a different approach to the same old problems, Major Smith recognizes he will have big shoes to fill if he becomes Chief.

"One of the things that Chief Forte did very well is setting the example on how to communicate with the community and how engaged he was with the community,” said Smith of his previous boss. “That legacy alone is important."

A trusting partnership with the citizens of Kansas City while taking the bad guys off the street is what Major Smith says is the key to moving forward.

"The police should be able to bring calm where there is chaos and I want to be able to do that on every single street and every single place in Kansas City," he said.