Retiring Raytown police chief addresses rumors as city names interim replacement

RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Raytown named its interim police chief Tuesday as it said goodbye to the man who’s led the department the past 18 years.

Chief Jim Lynch had made no public comments since announcing his retirement, until Tuesday's meeting, as he made it clear this wasn’t a resignation.

“I know there’s a lot of rumors out there, but I’m retiring. It’s time for me to retire, and that’s what I’m doing. Thank you so much," Lynch said after receiving resolutions marking his retirement from the state and the Raytown Board of Aldermen.

The last couple years haven’t been without their challenges for the chief.

He dealt with the board cutting his budget by $3 million. He had a showdown with the Board of Aldermen penning an open letter about how the budget cuts would lead to layoffs.

Raytown's police department is also part of a petition-led audit that cites mismanagement of the agency.

“We’ve lost seven or eight different department heads in three years," said Tony Jacob, who led the audit petition drive. "Without that sort of knowledge and policies that can be put in place for more than six months, we are in trouble. So we need strong leadership that’s going to guide the ship and stop losing everybody."

"Jim was ready to move on, and I’m proud of him, and I think the community should be very proud of what he’s accomplished in our community," former Missouri legislator Ralph Monaco said.

On Tuesday, Raytown's Board of Aldermen unanimously approved Maj. Randy Hudspeth to take over as interim chief, effective Feb. 15 when Lynch retires.

In April, voters will decide if they want to keep the police chief as an elected position or allow the board to appoint a police chief instead.

A press release from the city detailing the ballot item lists only "pros" for appointing a chief, including allowing candidates to apply from outside of Raytown, which enlarges the pool of qualified candidates.

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