KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two sergeants and seven detectives in the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department's Crimes Against Children Department were relieved of duty with pay on Thursday, as the Kansas City Police Department announced it is conducting an internal investigation into how some cases were handled by its Crimes Against Children Section.
According to the new release from the department's media unit, the investigation began after Chief Darryl Forte became aware of issues in October 2015 with cases not being addressed in a timely manner according to public expectations and standards set by the department. The department launched an internal investigation to determine what led to the problems and corrective actions were put in place.
"The Department is concerned that such serious cases with such vulnerable victims may not have been handled in the most effective manner possible," the news release said.
A commander, sergeant and other detectives with experience in these kinds of cases will be assigned cases while the nine are reassigned during the internal investigation.
The Department has formed a committee to audit its practices in investigating Crimes Against Children cases, which include cases in which children 16 or younger are victims of physical or sexual abuse as well as neglect, endangerment, parental kidnapping and custody violations.
In a conversation with FOX 4, Chief Forte stressed he wants everyone involved to have the chance for due process.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99 released this statement in light of the investigation:
"Lodge 99 of the Fraternal Order of Police unequivocally supports the detectives and sergeants of the Crimes Against Children Unit. These public servants have been selected for this unit based upon their decorated careers and proven dedication to the residents of Kansas City. As such, the FOP is confident that after a full investigation the record will reflect that these officers performed their duties satisfactorily and that any perceived delays in concluding particular investigations, which are inevitable in the overloaded criminal justice system, were attributable to the unit's high case load and low manpower. Throughout this process, the FOP will devote substantial resources to protect the rights of these officers. Under these circumstances, it is apparent that a rush to judgment should be avoided. "