Unified Government to announce new Kansas City, Kansas police chief Friday

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Unified Government of Wyandotte County is expected to announce the new police chief for Kansas City, Kansas on Friday.

The UG said County Administrator Doug Bach will make the announcement around 10 a.m. at City Hall.

Local leaders in KCK announced last month that it has four finalists for the vacant police chief position, all of whom met with the public in a forum streamed live on Facebook on April 15.

A recent panel of people who live in KCK expressed satisfaction with the four finalists seeking the new chief’s position, one of whom will lead the 339 officers at this agency.

The four finalists include:
-Rich Austin, currently police chief in Milton, Georgia
-Vince Davenport, a former KCK officer, who now works for the U.S. Department of Justice
-Karl Oakman, a deputy police chief with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department
-Pamela Waldeck, an internal candidate currently working as deputy chief in KCK

Interim Chief Michael York plans to retire at the end of 2021 from a department that serves 180,000 people. During a recent community interview, York said the academy is short-handed, but 12 new officers are about to graduate from Wyandotte County’s police academy.

The new chief will inherit a department confronted with image issues, typified by the forced resignation of former Chief Terry Ziegler. That came after a female police cadet sued the department when she was fired for reporting a sexual assault — one that involved her supervisor.

KCKPD said the department responds to over 380,000 calls for service annually in service to the residents and businesses of KCK.

“The department has adopted many best practices and standards in terms of community policing, department response to issues, and cutting-edge technology,” the department said in a release Thursday. “The incoming police chief will have an opportunity to build upon these practices while fostering a more diverse police force and readiness for the future.”

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