The Kansas City Police Department announced a new community-focused division over the weekend, as the department contends with criticism and legal challenges over a range of issues. The Community Engagement Division launched Sunday, Interim Chief Joseph Mabin announced in a blog post Monday. “Our officers already engage with our community each day. Yet this new division is here to show and remind residents that we’re making the effort to strengthen our community bonds and improve all our relationships,” Mabin wrote.
The department in recent years, and under former Chief Rick Smith’s leadership, has been heavily criticized for its struggle to develop and maintain community trust. Mabin said he hopes the new division will improve the department’s efficiency and community relations by unifying the services, improving communications and streamlining resources.
Maj. Kari Thompson, who most recently served as major over KCPD’s East Patrol, is leading the new division, Mabin said. The division is made up of the following members of the department: Social Workers, who connect community members to resources Community Interaction Officers, who respond to people during mental health crises Crisis Intervention Team Crime-Free Multi-Housing Officers, who work with landlords and tenants to reduce crime and create safer neighborhoods Chaplains LGTBQ+ Liaison Officer “In countless ways, the Community Engagement Division will meet people where they are with care and concern,” Mabin wrote. “Moving forward, they’ll do all of this united with a deliberate focus and guidance.”
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