KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A new police chief started work today by saying he will work to represent everyone in the city.
Karl Oakman is a familiar face to many in the metro area. He was sworn in Monday morning, after serving 29 years as a Kansas City, Missouri police officer, most recently as a deputy chief.
“Your getting a good one,” KCPD posted in a tweet when Oakman was named chief for Kansas City, Kansas.
Oakman grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and is returning to his hometown now to rebuild trust in a police department, following Chief Terry Ziegler’s forced resignation two years ago.
“I went through my whole career, and I think if you focus on things that make you different from others, you will never get anything accomplished,” Oakman said. “What I always do is focus on what I can do. What experience, what information I can bring to improve the quality of life in the community as a whole, regardless of your social economic status, your race, your gender as police chief. I’m police chief for all members of the Kansas City, Kansas, community.”
Oakman said his top priority is to listen: both to his officers and neighbors living all across Wyandotte County.
Many in the area lost faith in former Chief Ziegler because of his close connection to former detective Roger Golubski, a man who’s been accused of sexually assaulting multiple women while on the police force.
A police cadet also recently sued the department after she claimed she was fired for reporting that she was sexually assaulted by her supervisor.
Oakman said he will work hard to change the perception of police and share more information about what officers are doing well.
The new chief will be in charge of about 340 officers.