KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The search for the next Kansas City police chief is down to three finalists.

The Board of Police Commissioners released the names of the three candidates Monday afternoon.

They include one internal candidate and two candidates from out of town.

Acting Deputy Chief Stacey Graves is a veteran of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department with more than 25 years of experience. Graves commands the Patrol Bureau and oversees all six patrol division stations and the traffic and special operations divisions.

Stacey Graves | Courtesy: Kansas City Police Dept.

Graves was in charge of the Human Resources Division during the department’s pandemic response. She also served as the Patrol Bureau’s Executive Officer before being named to her current role earlier this month.

Graves has experience in Patrol, Media and Internal Affairs. The Kansas City Police Department says Graves’ other assignments include the Target-Oriented Policing Squad (TOPS), Career Criminal Squad, the Drug Enforcement Unit, and patrol.

She earned a degree in Administration of Justice from UMKC in 1997, and an Executive Master of Business Administration from Benedictine College.

DeShawn Beaufort is from the Philadelphia area. He is a 25-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department. Beaufort currently manages the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center and Fusion Center.

DeShawn Beaufort | Courtesy: Kansas City Police Dept.

Beaufort also sets strategies to improve community safety across a twelve-county and four-state
metropolitan area, according to Kansas City’s police board. He also led the department’s largest patrol division and managed more than 750 sworn personnel and 180 civilians. He also has experience in narcotics, neighborhood policing, robbery, and the tactical team.

Beaufort has a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership as well as a Masters in Business Administration.

Scott Ebner is a retired lieutenant colonel and Deputy Superintendent of Administration for the New Jersey State Police. He served the state police fore 27 years in a number of roles, including Chief of Staff, Deputy Superintendent of Investigations, Director for the State of New Jersey Fusion Center, the Regional Operations Intelligence Center, and Administration Branch Commander.

Scott Ebner | Kansas City Police Dept.

Ebner’s previous responsibilities also included oversight for the State Police Academy. He also managed the central region of the State Police’s uniformed patrol division. Ebner serves as internal affairs commander and worked in the criminal investigation office.

Ebner holds a master’s degree in human resources management, training, and development and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

The hiring comes after Rick Smith retired in April. Chief Joe Mabin was named interim police chief and has been in charge of the department for the past six months. At the time Mabin said he would not apply for the position.

The police board said said 21 people applied for the position, but two of the applicants withdrew early. Of the remaining candidates, 11 were either women or minorities.

Community input

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted Monday morning about what he believes are essential traits for the next police chief.

Lucas said the ability to communicate in and with all city neighborhoods is mandatory, especially the neighborhoods most impacted by violence.

The board is also looking for someone who can excel when it comes to innovation in crime fighting. Fiscal responsibility and strong relations with other officers inside the police department are also needed.

Community activists are also speaking out on the finalists.

“When I look at the finalists, I don’t look at it in terms of race and gender. I look at it as who’s gone be best,” Pastor Darron Edwards with Getting to the Heart of the Matter said. “But when I look at who’s going to be best, I see two flawed external candidates and one clear choice.”

“Our chief needs to know that there’s a difference between Gates and Joe’s KC,” Edwards said. “They need to know that there’s a difference between west side and east side.”

The main concern for local community groups is the board picking only one internal candidate.

“We have such outstanding commanders here of good ethnicities, different genders and they are familiar with the community,” John Sharp with South Kansas City Alliance said.

Sharp said the Public Safety Coalition and police board agreed on at least three public forums, but now there’s only one this Saturday.

“I think we’re just disappointed that there weren’t as many opportunities for community input as we went along,” Sharp said.

Some said this is a sign the board wasn’t listening to the community’s concerns

“Kansas City can’t wait 6 months,” Edwards said. “Whoever that candidate is going to be needs to know Kansas City, Missouri, day one.”

Public input

The public is invited to meet all three finalists during a public forum on Saturday, Dec. 10. The meeting will be held at the Robert J. Mohart Multipurpose Center at 3200 Wayne Avenue. The forum begins at 10 a.m.

The police board is asking the public to submit questions for candidates online.

Those who can’t make the in-person event can watch online here.

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