City of Liberty Police Chief James Simpson has announced his upcoming retirement effective July 1, 2022.
Simpson, a long-time Liberty resident, joined the Liberty Police Department as a Police Officer in 1985 after completing a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Central Missouri State University and completing the Kansas City Police Department’s Regional Training Academy. He rose through the ranks until the City Council unanimously approved his appointment as Liberty’s Police Chief in November 2011.
During his 11 years as Chief of Police, Simpson has encouraged his officers and staff to find new ways to serve the community and build relationships with residents and stakeholders.
“It has been an honor to serve alongside Police Chief Simpson during my tenure as Liberty’s City Administrator. He will be greatly missed by all who have worked with him,” said Curt Wenson. “During his time here, he has lifted our Police Department to new heights and has set a new standard when it comes to the commitment to improving our community and the lives of our residents. We wish him well in his retirement and salute him for an incredible career.”
Under his leadership, the department expanded its community engagement initiatives:
- 2011 – Implemented standardized model policies (Lexipol) and established cooperative mutual aid agreements with other municipalities
- 2013 – A new UHF regionally interoperable radio system (MARRS - Metropolitan Area Regional Radio System) was installed.
- 2015 – Officers launched the Coffee with a Cop program, a nationwide initiative to host informal, relaxed coffee chats for the community to gather, build relationships and ask questions.
- 2015 – School Resource Officers developed a Junior Police Academy for middle school students that has grown in popularity and served as a model for other area departments.
- 2016 – Established Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for all Liberty Police Officers.
- 2018 – Established the Peer Support Unit for police and City personnel.
- 2019 – The department implemented body cameras.
- 2019 – The department launched its Lookout for Liberty security camera registration program that allows residents to register their security cameras into a database and be called upon in the future if a crime occurs in the area.
- 2020 – The department entered the social media realm, launching both a Facebook page and Twitter feed that encourages interaction between the department and the community. Sharing safety tips, community events and updates about ongoing investigations.
- 2021 – The computer aided dispatch/records management system (CAD/RMS) was replaced.
He was an integral part of the work behind the scenes to get the Public Safety Sales Tax passed in 2017, which provides for staffing and safety improvements in both the Police and Fire Departments.
Throughout his career, Simpson sought out additional educational opportunities. He earned a master’s in public affairs from Park College and completed additional training and certifications through Central States Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy and the Regional Police Training Academy.
Respected among his peers at both the regional and State level, Simpson served as the treasurer for the Metro Chiefs and Sherriff’s Association for nine years and was elected president of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association in 2017.
He is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the FBI National Academy of Associates, the International Association of Police Chiefs, the Missouri Peace Officers Association and the Missouri Police Chief’s Association.
The City of Liberty will begin the search process for its next Police Chief in the coming months.