ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — An embattled former Kansas City, Missouri, police chief is helping a nearby community as it searches for its next police chief.
A spokesperson confirmed the St. Joseph City Council will pay former Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith $250/hour for consulting services. The contract will not pay Smith more than $25,000.
Chris Connally retired as the department’s leader Friday.
A spokeswoman for the city of St. Joseph said Smith will evaluate the police department and will not be involved in the actual hiring process.
“Well, Rick was brought to us as a resource to help look at what our department, what it has, what its strengths are, what areas we could improve on, and begin to use that information to assist the next chief as he as he comes in and gets started,” Bryan Carter, St. Joseph City Manager, told KQ2 News.
The Department of Justice is currently investigating the Kansas City Police Department for allegations of racial discrimination against officers. The alleged civil rights issues occurred during the time Smith was in charge of the department.
According to KQ2 in St. Joseph, the NAACP and other organizations said they’re concerned about Smith being involved.
“Several church organizations have listed grievances against him in how minorities particularly African Americans, Latinos were treated, but not only people in the community, but these are in the police department. There are some cases against him in the police department against his own officers of color,” Loes Hedge, St. Joseph NAACP, told KQ2 News.
The NAACP said it wonders why the St. Joseph City Council made the decision to hire Smith despite his past of alleged discriminatory behavior.
“That question has been raised as to any kind of fairness. And we were considering that all of these things that there’s a investigation with the Department of Justice against him. Why would the city of St. Joseph, hire him for helping to advise or give advice to our police department?” Hedge said.
The NAACP and other organizations said they’re looking for transparency from the city council as well as a chance to collaborate with them during the search for the next chief.
They hope the next leader of the police department will work to create a culture of equality and inclusion within both the police force and the community.
“Should we move forward with hiring a search firm, they will actually help us develop the process using some of the best practices that they’ve developed over their searches. Those practices I’m certain will include community input as one of the most important decisions that this community will make it’ll be definitely be important to have community input,” Carter told KQ2 News.
The NAACP plans to send a letter to St. Joseph City Council expressing concerns over Smith’s involvement.
The city council said it will continue to provide updates on the search process to the public and on the council’s website.
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