Community Interaction Officers and the Narcotics Division
The brave members of law enforcement have one of the toughest jobs in the country. Every day,
they leave their families, strap on body armor, and keep communities safe. Over the past few
years, their jobs have been made even harder as they face budget cuts, attacks on their
profession, and radical wings of our society who target them with violent attacks.
In order to better understand what police officers are up against, I enrolled in the Kansas City
Citizen Police Academy. The academy meets one night a week for three hours, and participants
are able to learn and experience the different divisions and functions of the police department.
We are able to hear directly from rank-and-file cops about the challenging and rewarding
aspects of their job. I hope to shed light on the great work that law enforcement does, and the
unique challenges that they face - I know that this perspective is one that the mainstream media
likes to ignore.
This week, we were able to hear from the Community Interaction Officers and the Narcotics
Community Interaction Officers help facilitate communication between the police department
and the residents of Kansas City. They encourage community leaders and residents to be
actively involved in anti-crime efforts. A community that has good relations with the police
department and a partnership in place is much likelier to have a reduction in the crime rate.
We also learned that Chief Rick Smith has been instrumental in modernizing and revolutionizing
community policing. He has supported expanding the program and doubling the number of
Community Interaction Officers. Now, all six geographic zones in the city have a morning and
evening shift. This allows many residents who are at work during the day to meet with the police
department in the evening after they come home.
Chief Smith believes that making our city safe takes the who community, and this quote
showcases his philosophy on public safety:
“The police are only part of the solution. The resident engagement piece is huge, and we
cannot reduce crime and improve quality of life without it. If we were all neighborly, looked out
for each other and reported crime, we’d have a much safer city.”
After hearing from the Community Interaction Officers, the Academy had the opportunity to learn
from the Narcotics Division. Right off the bat, I had immense respect for these men and women. They are dedicated to bringing violent criminals, cartel members, and drug dealers to justice.
The drugs that these lowlifes bring into our communities ruin lives, destroy families, and kill the
vulnerable. The officers in the Narcotics Division potentially expose themselves to dangerous
drugs every time they arrive at a scene. Accidental exposure and overdoses are not uncommon.
One officer detailed her experience in the hospital after she was accidently exposed to PCP
while bringing a criminal to justice.
These officers also dispelled the media’s narrative that they are arresting low-level teenagers
smoking marijuana. The officers could not remember a time where they arrested a suspect for
just possessing a controlled substance. Drug arrests are nearly always coupled with property
crimes, violent crimes, and gun crimes.
One other common misconception that was dispelled by these officers is that they enjoy
targeting and arresting residents.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The men and women of the Kansas City Police
Department have one goal - to clean up their city and keep its residents safe. Our cops are overworked, underpaid, overextended, and underappreciated. The more resources and support
that we can provide these first responders, the safer our community will be. It’s as simple as
Chris Vas is the Executive Director of Liberty Alliance. Liberty Alliance is dedicated to supporting
the men and women of law enforcement, and is leading the investigation into Kansas City
Mayor Quinton Lucas’ illegal defunding of the Kansas City Police Department.
MEET THE OFFICERS