TKC #TBT: HOW DOES KCPD CHIEF FORTÉ COMPARE TO LEGENDARY KANSAS CITY LAWMAN CLARENCE M. KELLEY?!?
For those who don't remember, Clarence M. Kelley was an iconic Kansas City lawman who served as both FBI Director and Chief Of Police and was controversial but also noted for pioneering change, forging new tech and fighting corruption.
The definite write-up on his tenure was penned by the New York Times. Here's a key passage that speaks to the current epoch:
"The most controversial event of his years as Kansas City Police Chief occurred after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on April 4, 1968. Six blacks were killed in rioting in Kansas City, and though an inquiry placed no direct blame on the Chief, questions were raised about the supervision of the police who quelled the disturbances.
"In Kansas City, Mr. Kelley had long been regarded with suspicion among black people, and there were public complaints that black officers found it hard to rise in the ranks of his department.
"Late in his term as Chief, Mr. Kelley assigned 10 black officers to full-time recruiting duty in an effort to put more black officers on the force.
"By nearly all accounts, Mr. Kelley rooted out corruption as Kansas City Chief and brought the department up to date. His was one of the first departments to use helicopter patrols."
One of our most AWESOME TOP ECHELON AND KICK-ASS TIPSTERS makes this comparison . . .
"TKC, if you really look at what the rank and file are complaining about, it's not just a few dumb quotes. There has been rising crime in the Midtown Corridor and Waldo, the Chief did not defend well against staffing reductions and obviously he's not handling a lot of the transitions going on in law enforcement aptly during these recent events when so many police have been killed. I think it's safe to say that the colleagues of the Chief in law enforcement are upset with his record as an administrator. This reminds me that KC has a long tradition of police chiefs who have worked under more trying times, men like Clarence Kelley who have defined our community. Ask yourself this: Does Chief Forté live up to that example?"
Depending on who you ask, that's a pretty high standard but the question is worth consideration . . .
Again, what we don't like is the idea that Kansas City would face some kind of riot without an African-American Chief . . . It's a cynical bargaining tactic that underestimates both police and so many diverse communities in Kansas City . . . Fact is, this cowtown has coped with constant violence that's not only connected to racial strife but also represents a legacy of government and civic corruption, change and hopefully progress.
You decide . . .