As usual Friday morning, Darryl Forté wasn’t behind his desk at 12th and Locust streets.
The Kansas City police chief was cruising the East Side in an ongoing effort to demonstrate that police are committed to a larger presence there.
By many measures, 2014 was a banner year for the city’s first black police chief as he charted a new way forward. Homicides were down to their lowest level in 42 years. Property crimes — burglary, stealing, car theft — dropped too.
His involvement with area law enforcement agencies aimed at cracking down on the most violent offenders is producing results. Forté-led initiatives that analyze crime trends and focus on areas hardest hit are paying off.
Forté estimates he spent at least half his year outside police headquarters cruising the streets, checking in with residents and forging partnerships with a community long suspicious of anything cop. That’s new too.
When protesters marched in Kansas City in response to Ferguson, Mo., Forté’s department met with movement leaders ahead of time. Then his officers did something else. They offered marchers rides back to their cars at evening’s end.
“We knew they were tired,” Forté said.
New thinking is making a difference. For all these reasons, Forté is the Kansas City area newsmaker of the year.