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KCK names a new police chief

New Chief hired to lead KCKPD

County Administrator announces Chief Karl A. Oakman will join KCKPD in June as Chief.

Today, County Administrator Doug Bach announced the appointment of Karl A. Oakman as the new Chief of Police for the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department. Incoming Chief Oakman will assume his duties next month.

Oakman brings nearly three decades of experience with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department and has successfully developed initiatives focused on inclusion, community policing, youth engagement, recruitment, and officer wellness. Since 2017, Oakman has served as the Deputy Chief of Police and currently commands the Patrol Bureau, which includes six patrol divisions (KCI Airport Division, Special Operations, Traffic, KCPD Social Services, Crisis Intervention, and Detention Services) and is responsible for the management and leadership of 1,025 sworn officers and civilian employees.

“It is a great honor to return home and serve the Kansas City, Kansas community and members of the police department,” said Oakman. “When the police department and community collaborate, great things can be accomplished.”

Oakman was previously the Administration Bureau Commander, overseeing the Regional Crime Lab, Human Resources Division and the Information Technology Division. In 2011, Oakman was promoted to major and oversaw South Patrol Division. He collaborated with staff to implement crime reduction strategies that significantly decreased violent crime in South Patrol. In addition, Oakman held the position of city liaison which worked side by side with the Mayor, City Manager and Council to address public safety issues. In 2006, Oakman was promoted to captain and held assignments in East Patrol, Employee Benefits Unit and Employment Unit. Oakman was promoted to sergeant in 1999, where he held assignments at Central Patrol, the Sex Crimes Unit and the Employment Unit. Oakman began his career as a patrol officer in 1992 at East Patrol Division, and later become a detective in the Vice Unit, Homicide Unit and Drug Enforcement Unit.

Oakman is a 2018 graduate of the prestigious Police Executive Leadership Institute (PELI) and has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Columbia College. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Missouri Chiefs Association, and Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association. He serves on three national committees: the IACP Human and Civil Rights Committee and the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s Deputy Chief and Technology Committees. Oakman has received various awards to include: KMBC Channel 9 Gold Award for Valor, Kansas City, Kansas Police Department Meritorious Service Award, Kansas Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police Silver Award for Valor, KCPD Distinguished Service Medal, KCPD Meritorious Service Award, and five KCPD Special Unit Citations.

“Our national search for our next Chief of Police led us to a shortlist of talented candidates,” said County Administrator Doug Bach. “I have great confidence that Chief Oakman will bring the experience and expertise to our department to allow us to build on what works while improving public safety in Kansas City, Kansas.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have slowed the process temporarily last Spring, the Unified Government administration led an extensive effort since January 2020 to understand and define the ideal candidate for Kansas City, KS, including community listening sessions, a community survey, and police department listening sessions. The Unified Government hired a national recruitment firm to identify and pre-qualify candidates for the position in early 2021. The candidates have participated in a rigorous process of interviews and written exercises and the top four finalists advanced to a three-day assessment center in late April.

“The process for recruiting and evaluating candidates for the new Chief of Police has been extensive, attracting numerous qualified candidates and bringing forward four exceptional leaders as finalists,” said Mayor David Alvey. “I ask our community to engage our new Chief, and to support him and all of our police officers in their very challenging duties.”

The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department responds to over 380,000 calls for service annually in service to the residents and businesses of Kansas City, KS. The department has adopted many best practices and standards in terms of community policing, department response to issues, and cutting-edge technology. The incoming police chief will have an opportunity to build upon these practices while fostering a more diverse police force and readiness for the future. Interim Chief of Police Michael York has been leading the department and is looking forward to his retirement at the end of this year.

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