Newest KC police recruits revive old tradition to honor fallen officers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One hundred and nineteen. That’s how many Kansas City, Missouri police officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1874.

On Tuesday, the department’s newest recruits are honoring those officers who’ve gone before them.

At KCPD headquarters, a memorial statue sits in front of the building.

The statue has the names of the 119 officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. On Tuesday, the police academy’s recruits revived a tradition to pay tribute to the fallen officers.

The 162nd entrant officer class and academy staff ran through downtown until they arrived at police headquarters.

There, they did push-ups in front of the statue.

Police Chief Rick Smith talked to the group about the run, saying the effort serves as a time of respect and team building.

Afterward, the group continued running, for a total of about two miles.

“They’re learning to work as a team, right? You saw them out there. I think everyone downtown was impressed by what they saw. That helps them feel good about what they’re doing and what they chose to do and the journey they are about to embark on," Chief Smith said. “I think it has been a tradition in the past and they are trying to bring it back to them, you know. This is the end of their Academy time and they want it to be more significant. They are about to embark on this journey and that’s what this symbolism is to pay respect.”

All of those recruits just successfully passed their final training last week. They’ll graduate on May 17 and then join different departments across the metro.