Victim advocacy group shares hopes, concerns as new KCPD Chief is named

Ad Hoc Group Against Crime works closely with Kansas City, Missouri police.

The community is weighing in on the appointment of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department’s new Chief of Police, Stacey Graves. The president of a local crime victim advocacy group says he believes Graves will work to improve community engagement, but says she has a tough job ahead when it comes to issues inside and outside the department.

Kansas City, Missouri police have responded to more than 160 homicide scenes this year. It’s one of the deadliest years the city has ever seen.

“We’re in a state of really, sort of emergency when you talk about the epidemic of violence that exists in our community,” said Damon Daniel. He’s the president of Ad Hoc Group Against Crime, which acts as a bridge between KCPD and crime victims and their families.

He’s worked with new Chief Stacey Graves in his seven-plus years in this role.

“I think Stacey is gonna be one of those individuals that’s gonna do a lot of outreach. She’s very much a good listener,” he said, but he worries that hiring from within KCPD may not bring needed change.

“I think we’re gonna see the same issues that we’ve been seeing for a while now,” he said. “I’m praying for her success, but I’m also just concerned that we’re gonna continue to see the same status quo.”

One big challenge facing KCPD is the Department of Justice investigation into the department’s hiring practices and how minority officers are treated there. The city auditor is also auditing the department’s hiring process.

“There’s a lot that has to be addressed within the department,” said Daniel. “For example, you know, there’s racism that exists, there’s use of force, unnecessary use of force that exists.”

He echoed many other community leaders who were not happy with the selection process for the new chief and wanted to see more community involvement and transparency. He wants to see the path forward include those elements, along with accountability.

“There is hope, you know, there is some progress being made,” he said, “but we still got a long way to go.”

Chief Graves grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. She joined the Kansas City, Missouri police department in April 1997 as a civilian records clerk.

During her 25 years with the department, she’s been with the Drug Enforcement Unit, the Media Unit and Internal Affairs. Most recently, she commanded the Patrol Bureau.

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