Chief Forte says he’s working to weed out officers who don’t treat citizens fairly

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police Chief Darryl Forte says he's fighting critics within his own department, who don't want him to make changes designed to eliminate prejudice and racial profiling.

"Everybody wants to stand up and talk about we’re not prejudiced, we don’t racially profile," Forte said. "We’re just like every other organization. We just don’t take an oath and all of the sudden that stuff goes away. It doesn’t go away. You don’t take an oath and all of the sudden start loving everybody."

The chief made public statements Friday in response to questions from the Black Agenda Group.

Forte says a lot has changed during his career as a police officer. Forte says when he first applied, he was rejected and told never to apply again.

Forte told the east side community group that he learned police are just like any other group of people.

And he is working to weed out officers with problems, who don't meet the standard of treating citizens fairly regardless of who they are or what they look like.

"If Southwest Airlines said 90 percent of our pilots can fly, would you fly with them?" Forte asked. "I’m saying we need 100 percent of our police officers to do what they need to do."

The chief says he's come under fire within the department for pushing for change, and says people are likely to hear more criticism of him.

"You’re going to see another article coming up about how much I make, and I get comp time for going to scenes and things like that," Forte said. "They are getting the data now. I’m going to keep going to crime scenes. If I filled out a slip every time I did something I would be a millionaire at the end of my career. I do a lot of things free."

The Black Agenda Group has been meeting for 14 years, and often attracts elected leaders and others who recognize the grassroots members have influence in their neighborhoods.

Those at the meeting say they support Forte and believe he has endured unfair attacks as the city's first black police chief.

Forte also promised that his officers eventually will wear body cameras but warns that the  public probably won't be able to see the video right away.

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