Throughout more than 25 years with the Kansas City Police Department, Acting Deputy Chief Stacey Graves has served in several different capacities.
Now, she’s one of three candidates for police chief.
“I have dedicated my career in law enforcement to serving Kansas City, I appreciate the opportunity to be a finalist for the selection process for Chief of Police,” Graves said in a statement.
She declined to comment further when reached by phone on Wednesday.
Graves is the only internal and the only female candidate selected as a finalist. The other candidates are DeShawn Beaufort, a commander with the Philadelphia Police Department and Scott Ebner, a retired lieutenant colonel and deputy superintendent of administration for the New Jersey State Police.
The Board of Police Commissioners will consider who among them will replace Interim Police Chief Joseph Mabin, who was appointed in April following the exit of Chief Rick Smith.
Graves is a native of Kansas City, Kansas, and joined KCPD in April 1997.
During her 25-year tenure with the department, Graves has been a patrol officer, a detective with the vice and narcotics unit and later was aide to former police chief Darryl Forté.
In 2001, Graves received a medal of valor after shooting a suspect who had lunged at another officer, took his gun and pointed it at her, according to news reports.
She was promoted to captain and made responsible for the department’s human resources unit. Later on, she became a supervisor in internal affairs and was in charge of the department’s media unit.
As a police major, Graves served as a division commander at the Shoal Creek Patrol Division in Kansas City, North, and recently coordinated the department’s program assigning social workers to each of the six patrol divisions throughout Kansas City.
While attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Graves earned a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice. Graves also earned an Executive Master of Business Administration from Benedictine College. She previously served on the board for the Rose Brooks Center, which helps victims of domestic abuse.
Lisa Fleming, CEO of the center, said Graves was on the board from 2016 until this year.
“She truly demonstrates the qualities we seek in the next chief of police,” Fleming said. “She leads with integrity, kindness and respect as well as a connection to the community she serves. We’ve always found her to be open to listening and you can always count on her to follow through and get the job done.”
For the past several weeks, Graves has served as an interim deputy chief, overseeing the patrol bureau.
The next chief will face widespread scrutiny from the community which has criticized the department for fatally shooting unarmed Black men, several assaults by officers who have been criminally charged and racism within the department, which is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Several local groups have also denounced the process of selecting the next chief, saying community voices had been ignored.
Doug Shafer, a board member with the social justice group MORE2, called it “a charade.”
He said he would support an internal candidate like Graves because they would be more familiar with which officers in the department have a history of misconduct — but only if “she’s willing to stand up and get rid of those kinds of people.”
Residents will be able to meet and hear from the finalists during a community forum at 10 a.m. Saturday, at the Robert J. Mohart Multipurpose Building, 3200 Wayne Ave. The event will be streamed here.