City Podcast: Police Chief Travis Forbes Discusses Department Practices

Police Department Practices

As part of the national conversation taking place regarding police practices, our department has received numerous inquiries about our policies, training, equipment, transparency and accountability. We appreciate the questions from those individuals who have reached out to us as they seek to understand more about our police department. As community partners, we value the relationship and trust that we have built together in our community and we believe that dialogue and understanding are important. The information outlined here is meant to broadly address the most common questions that have been asked of us. Some of the topics could fill hundreds of pages, so this is not meant to be a complete reference. If after reading this overview you find yourself with additional questions, we welcome you to call or stop by in person to obtain additional information.

The department is in the process of acquiring and installing body-worn cameras as a result of a no-tax bond issue that was passed last year, in addition to a federal grant that was attained for this purpose. This will include an upgrade to the in-car video system, as well. The department is anxiously awaiting this equipment. Funding was the primary issue in acquiring the technology. In addition to body cameras, the police department already has in-car video (dash camera) systems. The LSPD policy includes a review of officer video periodically for accountability.

Lee’s Summit police officers are trained at the Kansas City, Missouri Regional Police Academy in de-escalation and conflict resolution strategies. Once they are no longer in the academy, the receive training at least twice per year, along with additional online training, in de-escalation and conflict resolution techniques.

The use of force is extremely rare in all citizen contacts. Officers unfortunately must use force in situations such as arrest or protecting citizens from threats of violence. Officers are trained and policy mandates the minimal level of force necessary in such situations. Our policy is very detailed, and officers are trained in its application at least four times per year. Our use of force policy is nationally recognized through the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation. Excessive force is prohibited. The department provides sophisticated, decision-based firearms training twice per year. Open training sessions are also offered as supplemental training. Regarding the use of deadly force, “officers are authorized to use lethal (deadly) force against another person when that officer believes that the action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in defense of any person in imminent danger of serious physical injury.” Officers are required to intervene in situations where they may witness another officer using an excessive amount of force.

Officers engage with our citizens during thousands of contacts each year.  Whenever these contacts result in any type of physical force being used, an officer is required to submit a use of force report that is reviewed by every level of the officer’s chain of command. 



Officers are required to document every instance of a use of force. Every use of force report is examined and evaluated by every level of supervision, per policy. If a use of force results in injury, claimed or apparent, a use of force investigation is conducted. The investigation includes the testimony of all parties involved and any witnesses, review of any video or audio evidence, and comparison to policy. Use of force data is evaluated every year to help shape training. Our use of force information is collected annually as part of our accreditation through the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation. CALEA assessors (who are external to our organization) review our information annually. CALEA assessors have repeatedly commented on the robust nature of the LSPD’s use of force reporting and investigation program.

Biased-based policing is prohibited in policy. The Lee’s Summit Police Department trains a minimum of twice per year on the topic of bias-based policing and implicit bias. We also aggressively recruit employees from all backgrounds. All employees hired are tested for bias as part of their psychological screening (mandated). We are not aware of any other type of organization that conducts such testing as part of its hiring process. In addition, supervisors conduct a quarterly review of all officer activity to identify any patterns of implicit bias or racial profiling.

Complaints against officers or staff are easy to file in Lee’s Summit. A link is provided on our webpage, or a complaint can be made via phone or through forms provided in our police lobby. LSPD accepts and investigates anonymous and staff-initiated complaints. The complaint system includes mandatory disposition reporting to the complainant. The Lee’s Summit Police Department conducts quarterly checks of every officer’s use of force, stop data, and complaints as part of our early intervention system. If a review reveals any patterns, supervision examines the circumstances to determine if any issues exist that need to be addressed. If any concern exists, the department has intervention programs that include training, counseling, discipline, and performance improvement programs (among others).

The Public Safety Advisory Board serves as a citizen committee that serves to 1) advise staff on methods and procedures to improve public relations and public image, 2) has the capability of initiating investigations regarding general public complaints against the Fire and Police Departments, 3) recommends improvements to the Fire and Police Departments to the City Council, 4) considers complaints related to traffic regulations; 5), receives reports on traffic activities, reviews and recommends traffic ordinances to the City Council; 6), reviews and studies fire prevention, fire safety, law enforcement and animal control ordinances for recommendation to the city manager and City Council.

The police department hiring process is extensive and in-depth. An interview board, polygraph, background investigation, and psychological evaluation are some of the steps involved in hiring. The psychological test includes a measure for racial bias.

Part of assuring the safety of our community includes contributing to the overall health of our fellow residents. The Lee’s Summit Police Department has a proud history of engaging this issue. LSPD was the first department in the State of Missouri to implement the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program. CIT includes officers specially trained to respond to individuals in crisis and direct them toward much-needed resources. LSPD is actively seeking funding to include a mental health co-responder in our operations. This position would be a civilian social worker who would be available to directly respond to calls for service involving crisis to enhance availability of programs and services, enhancing our CIT efforts. As of Summer 2020, we have not been able to fund this position but we will continue to seek all opportunities for this important enhancement. LSPD also provides the Safe Passage program to help individuals suffering from addiction direct access to services without fear of arrest. This model program is the first of its kind in Missouri and the Kansas City metropolitan area. For more information on Safe Passage, you can visit our website at

LSPD is nationally accredited through the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation (CALEA). The department provides policies and proofs of compliance annually. CALEA assessors visit the department every four years for an in-depth review of policies, procedures, and compliance information. CALEA continually updates its recommended standards through input from national experts. Members of the police department also belong to several local, state, and national professional organizations to assure the agency stays on the cutting edge of developments in policing, to include:

  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)
  • Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO)
  • Missouri Police Chiefs Association
  • National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy (FBINA)
  • American Society of Evidenced Based Policing (ASEBP)
  • CIT International
  • National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association
  • The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative

The police department maintains two officers dedicated as “Community Interaction Officers” (CIOs), with the sole purpose of assuring continual engagement with our fellow residents. CIOs run our extensive social media operations. CIOs also conduct several community events throughout the year, including Coffee with Cops, Popsicles in the Park, and the Boos Barks and Badges national night out event (among others). CIOs also interface with HOAs, community groups, multi-family housing representatives, and local businesses, providing training and listening to requests and recommendations for improving law enforcement in Lee’s Summit.  Citizens can engage with the Police Department via our pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and also The Next Door app and the Neighbors app from Ring.

LSPD staffs peer support officers who are available to aid their fellow officers, and also those from other metro agencies, who have responded to a crisis event or are experience personal issues. The police department also has counseling services readily available to officers and staff. A Police Chaplain program staff five chaplains from throughout the faith-based community in Lee’s Summit. The department has a full exercise facility in police headquarters and provides workout time to officers and staff.


Eighty-two (82%) percent of the police department budget is for personnel services, to include salaries for officers and staff, health insurance, and other related expenses. The remainder of the budget is spent on training, facility maintenance, technology (software and hardware), fuel, interdepartmental expenses, utilities, and supplies. The City’s overall budget, including the portion dedicated to the police department, may be viewed here:

The Citizen’s Police Academy (and related Junior Citizen’s Academy) provide an in-depth look at all aspects of our operations. It is offered once per year. Please consider following us on Facebook ( for such opportunities. The department also hosts several events throughout the year providing the opportunity for citizen interaction and engagement. We value our interaction and transparency with our citizens.