KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The son of a criminal flips the script and uses his childhood experiences to help solve crimes.
If it sounds like something out of a TV show, it is. “Prodigal Son” premiered Monday on FOX.
But it’s also the story of Kansas City Police Maj. Chip Huth and his siblings.
“My dad hated the police, like hated them,” Huth said, recalling a time when his father pulled over with him and his siblings in the back seat to join in a brawl with police.
Huth, his sister and two brothers all have worked for Kansas City police. Including his wife, at one point there were nine Huths on the police force.
“A lot of times we think criminals for parents, the kids are going to become criminals, too. But that’s not always the case,” Huth said. “Many police officers I talk to have parents who maybe were on the wrong side of the law at one point or another, and it inspired them to be different.”
Chip, the oldest of the four, said cops tracked his family down in the car, hotel or apartment where they were living while on the run on numerous occasions.
“My early impressions of police were that they were saviors. I remember being terrified and scared hiding under the bed,” Huth said.
He said many times they were also called because his dad was abusing his mom or the kids.
“I felt safe. I felt secure. I felt like everything was going to be all right, and I associated that feeling at a very early age with police officers. They were the ones that came in to the situation and stabilized,” he said.
If Huth looks familiar, you may have seen him on the A&E show “Kansas City SWAT.”
For decades Huth oversaw operations that led to the arrests of some of the metro’s most dangerous criminals.
But it’s the interactions like those detailed in the book “The Outward Mindset” that he’s most proud of. For example, when one of his SWAT officers started preparing baby bottles for the infants caught up in a raid.
“You can be direct in dealing with the problem, hard on the problem but soft on the person. That’s a big thing. I think people just generally want to be respected,” he said.
He now oversees the traffic division. He’s started talking more openly about his childhood experiences since an obvious rift between the public and police was exposed in the wake of the events in Ferguson.
“Every contact and every interaction I have with every person is an opportunity to build or destroy trust, build or destroy a relationship,” Huth said. “So I take that very seriously. I never forget that.”
He’ll never forget the uncle, a police officer, who rescued him, his mom and his siblings from a very bad situation.
“It makes me proud every time I see my family in uniform serving. I just have a sense of pride about it,” he said.
He’ll also never forget the way police officers treated the son of a career criminal.
“You know those officers back in the 1970’s have no idea that I’m sitting here today,” Huth said. “They have no idea the impact they had on me and my brothers and sister. They can’t know, but they did. And how many lives have been changed because of that impact?”