KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas City, Kansas Police Chief Terry Zeigler announced Wednesday he’s retiring in September. His departure after four and a-half years as chief comes at a time violent crime is down. But questions remain about allegations Zeigler got a sweetheart deal to live in a county owned lake home and double dipped by taking time off to work on the home.
FOX4 sat down with the chief and asked if that investigation was a factor in his decision to retire.
“The department’s in great shape.” That, Zeigler insists is why he’s stepping aside. Ending a nearly 30 year KCKPD career. Not claims he double dipped by using vacation time to work on the home, part of a ‘handshake deal’ eventually put in writing, that reduced his rent. Claims investigated by the KBI and forwarded to the Wyandotte County DA in May.
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Zeigler said. “No double dipping. I’ve done nothing wrong, and the KBI agent told me and my attorney that very clearly.
Zeigler tells FOX4 he has not seen the report from KBI. Nor Zeigler insists, did he know a partner on the force extorted sexual favors from poor black women. Allegations leveled at former Detective Roger Golebski in a federal lawsuit that while not naming Zeigler, claims the chief, then a detective, was aware.
“A corrupt cop is going to cover his tracks and keep that hidden. He’s not going to let people know that. You have to remember the time line. I had just come out of internal affairs,” Zeigler told FOX4’s John Holt.
The chief said those clouds and calls for his resignation, don’t overshadow the successes on his watch. Community policing that’s helped reduce violent crime, crisis intervention training, and youth outreach.
Those clouds, don’t come close to his lowest moments as the city’s top cop. The 2016 line of duty deaths of two of his men. Detective Brad Lancaster and Captain Dave Melton.
“We lost Lancaster. A big blow, a reality check. I had personal struggles at that time, and when we lost Melton I had some struggles. 2016 was a bad year for me, professionally and personally,” Zeigler said.
Zeigler said he’ll miss his officers most and community engagement, an avid tweeter trained on social media by his daughter, the chief often breaks news and shares the good side of police work, not just the bad.
“We’re in the people business. That’s what we’re in. We’re not in the crime fighting business. We’re in the people business. We help people.”
No regrets on his way out to start a background investigations business. Except perhaps the toll his career took on a failed marriage and personal life.
“I would probably say my biggest regret would be I focused my time and energy on the job. I’m kind of a workaholic. I should have realized that early in my career and tried to pace myself.”