The sometimes-embattled Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith has announced he is retiring April 22, 2022. He submitted his retirement to the Board of Police Commissioners Friday morning, March 25.
“It has been my greatest professional honor to serve as chief of police of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department,” Smith said in a statement released Friday morning.
“I am proud of all the members of this department I have served with over the years who have worked tirelessly to make KCPD great. I am honored to have been their chief since 2017 and to have served the citizens of Kansas City for more than 34 years,” Smith said.
Deputy Chief Joe Mabin has been named interim chief for the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, according to Mayor Quinton Lucas. Mabin will take over the department after Smith retires and until a new chief is hired.
Smith was hired as chief in 2017 and has served in various roles in the department for nearly 35 years. When he was hired, he committed to stay in the position no more than five years, according to the department. Earlier this year, Smith announced he would retire sometime after the budget was approved. That happened Thursday afternoon.
“My heart and soul will always be with KCPD. Thank you Kansas City and thank you KCPD,” Smith said, adding that he had started here in 1987 as a young police officer from Minnesota.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas thanked Smith for his dedicated years of service to the police department.
“I appreciate Chief Smith’s commitment to a smooth transition process, which will begin today, to ensure continuity in service delivery within the department. I wish Chief Smith well in retirement,” Lucas tweeted.
Social justice advocates, some 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.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce will have six different public input sessions starting later in March about what residents want in the next police chief after Smith retires.
Interim Chief Mabin is a 22-year veteran of the department and has served in multiple leadership capacities, according to a statement from the police board.
“We are confident that the department will be in good hands during this interim period while we engage with the community in the process of hiring a new chief. This position will be effective immediately following Chief Smith’s last day on the job which will be April 22, 2022. The interim chief [Mabin] has advised us that he will not apply to be the new chief. Thus, this is truly an interim position,”the board said in a statement.