Police chief announces retirement

Police Chief Terry Zeigler (File photo)

Police Chief Terry Zeigler has announced his retirement after 29 years of service with the department.

Zeigler will retire on Sept. 11, 2019, according to the announcement today from the Police Department.

“It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Kansas City, Kansas, and the men and women of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department for the last four and a half years as chief of police,” Zeigler said in a statement.

”The men and women of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department are some of the finest folks in law enforcement today. Their dedication to service and duty has been a source of inspiration and motivation to me. I have had a front row seat to see all of the great work they are doing in our community because they care so deeply about it,” he stated.

Zeigler listed some of their work:

“The Department’s Community Policing program has gained international attention, particularly the way we engage our community with surveys about crime and quality of life issues. Officers have embraced the community policing philosophy at every level and work in partnership with our citizens to address their concerns in their neighborhoods, as well as, crime related issues. Our citizens have been the cornerstone of our crime reduction, as they are not afraid to take a stand against those who commit crimes in our community.

“In 2015, the Department adopted a mandatory Crisis Intervention Team training program. As of today, 80% of the officers are CIT certified. We have adopted the same mandatory training program for members of our Dispatch Unit.

“The establishment of Project ACT and ICON as the premier crime fighting initiatives in our city. The ICON initiative received $700,000 in federal funding for its innovative crime fighting strategy. Overall crime in Kansas City, Kansas dropped nearly 11% in 2018 over the previous year. Incidents of total crimes decreased from 8,810 in 2017 to 7,850 in 2018. Homicides declined by 14.6%, while drive-by shootings showed the sharpest drop at 17.6% from the year before. In June of 1985, there were nine (9) reported homicides in our city and year to date we have had ten (10) homicides.

“Summer Cadet Program – A program that hires 18 high school students a year, for eight weeks, and teaches them life skills that they otherwise may not learn. Officers work to instill discipline in the cadets, a spirit of community service, and good citizenship. This program has won the support of many of our businesses because they understand the importance of helping set young adults up for future success in life.”

“Officers have and will continue to do an amazing job in spite of the difficulties we have faced over the last four and a half years. I am leaving the Department at a time when the leadership is strong, the morale is high, and community support and trust is steadfast,” Zeigler continued in his statement.

“A very special thank you to our citizens and businesses for the tremendous outpouring of support when we suffered the loss of Detective Brad Lancaster and Captain Robert Melton in 2016. It was very comforting to their families and our Department.

“Serving as a police officer is one of the noblest callings a person can answer and I encourage our citizens to consider a career in law enforcement with our Department. Be the change you want to see!”

Mayor David Alvey issued a statement this afternoon, saying, “On behalf of the citizens and businesses of Kansas City, Kansas I want to thank Chief Ziegler for his 29 years of service to our community. He will be remembered for his devotion to our citizens, his pride in his officers and staff, and his hard work and professionalism spanning nearly three decades. Our city is a better place because of Chief Ziegler’s commitment to protect and serve.”

County Administrator Doug Bach’s comment on the chief’s retirement: “Terry Zeigler has been a great Police Chief. He has led efforts to reduce crime and improve morale in the Police Department. I hired Chief Zeigler because I had great confidence in his ability and still do today. I did try to talk him out of retiring, but he decided he was ready for his next adventure in life. I will announce who I will be appointing as Acting Chief in a couple of weeks, while I develop a process and timeline to select the next Chief of Police for our community. KCK has a Police Department with dedicated men and women here to serve our community with professionalism and high standards.”

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