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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Despite announcing his upcoming retirement, Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith will remain in his role as the leader of the city’s police force, at least for now.

While it is unclear exactly what was said during a Monday closed-door meeting of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, the board issued a statement to clear up some perceived confusion.

Since the news of Smith’s upcoming departure became public, there has been a lot of back-and-forth on why the move was happening.

The big questions last week were ‘Is Chief Smith being forced out of the position?’ and ‘Is Chief Smith going willingly or will there be a longer drawn out conflict over this?’

The statement said the board continues to support Smith and never held a vote to terminate the police chief.

It also emphasized that Smith has planned to retire from the Kansas City Police Department after about five years. He was hired in August 2017, so the coming year would be five years in the position.

“Chief Smith has long planned to retire after approximately five years a chief, culminating his 35 years of loyal service to the department,” according to a statement.

The statement said Smith will stay at least through the current budget process, but a specific date for his retirement was not provided.

“Chief Smith remains in good standing with the board of police commissioners,” according to the statement.

News surfaced last week that Smith would retire in 2022. The announcement came just days after Kansas City police Det. Eric DeValkenaere was convicted of manslaughter.

Smith met last week with Mayor Quinton Lucas and Mark Tolbert, president of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, according to Lucas’ office, which declined to comment.

Social justice advocatessome religious leaders and even one council member have been calling for Smith’s resignation or removal for well over a year now, largely since the protests in summer 2020. 

They’ve pointed to the city’s rising crime and homicide rates, transparency problems and officer misconduct in the department. But in the past, Smith has held firm that he had no plans of retiring.

Smith independently confirmed with FOX4 his plans to move on, aligning with the comments from the board. However, it is still unclear if members of the Board of Police Commissioners pressured Smith to make his decision, something that could happen without a public discussion or vote.