After a year-long process for the search for a new Kansas City, Kansas Police Department police chief, county administrator Doug Bach announced today that former Kansas City, Missouri Police Department deputy chief Karl Oakman will take over the role next month.
During the past year, Bach held numerous meetings with community organizations and created community surveys to hear what Wyandotte County residents want the new police chief to prioritize and where KCKPD needs to improve.
“I hope everyone understands that this is not a decision I take lightly,” said Bach in a presentation about the future of KCKPD last month. “It’s one that I feel is a large part of my responsibility – making the right choice for our community”
Newly appointed police chief Oakman has about 30 years of experience at KCPD leading efforts in community policing, youth engagement, recruitment and officer wellness.
“Every person that I talked to would always lead with comments about (Oakman) that he’s a good man and all the work he’s done in the community, how he’s served people and his commitment to officers,” Bach said. “I’m very proud to bring him in as the next chief of police for Kansas City, Kansas.”
Born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, Oakman said the community made him what he is today.
“My father died when I was six and my mother died when I was 11,” Oakman said. “This community was able to comfort me and give me the resources to support me. So, I see this as an opportunity to give back to the community that raised me.”
Oakman said the very first thing he will do as chief is begin building trust by listening to those in the department and the community. Other goals he has for the department is to strengthen relationships between the community and department, develop a diverse and professional workforce and improve efficiency in the department through the use of technology.
“I will work with the staff and community to build on the department’s successes, and develop creative and innovative strategies to address our challenges,” Oakman said.