Running a big-city police force requires the instincts of a beat cop, the administrative talent of a CEO, and the public relations skills of a seasoned politician.
Four former chiefs and the current chief of the Kansas City Police Department talk about the force, its history, and the very demanding job they shared in a presentation titled Top Cops on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Participating are former chiefs Joseph D. McNamara, Floyd D. Bartch, Richard D. Easley, and James D. Corwin, and current chief Darryl L. Forte. Kansas City Public Library Director Crosby Kemper III moderates.
Joseph D. McNamara began his law enforcement career with the NYPD walking a beat in Harlem. He became chief of the KCPD in 1973, leading the department into groundbreaking research and innovative programs. In 1976 he became chief in San Jose, California, retiring in 1991. He is now a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Floyd D. Bartch was a member of the KCPD for 31 years and its chief from1996-1999. He has since served as a member and chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission. He brought national attention to the department through his community policing efforts which allowed officers to work closely with neighborhood associations.
Richard D. Easley grew up on Kansas City's east side and joined the KCPD in 1974, rising to command the North Patrol Division, where he oversaw creation of more than 50 neighborhood watch groups. He was a longtime member and chairman of the board overseeing the department's $600 million retirement fund. He became chief in 1999 and retired in 2004.
James D. Corwin was a member of the KCPD for 32 years and its chief from 2004-2011. He has been credited with introducing advanced technology to the department and emphasizing officer training and professional development. For his efforts the 500-seat auditorium at the force's training academy has been named the Chief James D. Corwin auditorium.
Darryl L. Forté became the KCPD's 44th chief and its first African American chief in 2011. He is a 28-year veteran of the force.
This event is presented in conjunction with Kansas City's Finest, an exhibit about the history of local law enforcement on display through June, 2013 at the Central Library. The exhibit and the event are made possible by the Kansas City Police Historical Society, which in 2011 donated their historical records to the Missouri Valley Special Collections.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.