Platte City police chief Mitchell to retire

Platte City will be in the market for a new police chief.

Early Wednesday morning, Nov. 14, the city issued a press release announcing the retirement of current chief Carl Mitchell after 45 years in law enforcement, the past nine in Platte City.

Mitchell’s retirement is effective Feb. 28, 2019, but he will use medical leave and will not work in the office. Since September, he was temporarily reassigned to work with the city administration as the department underwent an investigation.

An evaluation was done by an independent lawyer on the department’s culture and work environment and a report was given to the board of aldermen last month in a two-plus hour closed session meeting.

The aftermath of that was that Mitchell and Lt. Albert DeValkenaere were to remain in their current reassigned positions until further notice.

That was on Oct. 23 and three weeks later, Mitchell has decided to retire.

“The evaluation identified officers’ concerns regarding internal communications and organizational culture issues, including a negative work environment related to the management and communication style of the department’s command team,” the city’s press release said “However, the evaluation found that Chief Mitchell had neither engaged in, fostered or allowed gender or racial harassment nor had he engaged in any other prohibited or sanctionable command actions.”

DeValkenaere, according to city administrator DJ Gehrt, is still working in his reassigned position and nothing has changed.

Mitchell started his police career in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg and worked up from a patrol officer to detective before moving into command ranks as sergeant, lieutenant, captain and division commander. After retiring in Illinois, he joined the PCPD as the chief in March 2010. He was a military policeman in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to working in Schaumburg.

He is the longest tenured chief in Platte City during the past four decades.

“His tenure in Platte City included significant improvements to the Police Department’s organizational, operational and community engagement components,” the city press release stated. “Organizational improvements included upgrades to police vehicles, communications, information systems, firearms, non-lethal weapons and protective equipment. During his tenure Platte City also enhanced its in-car recording systems and was among the first KC metro area departments to deploy body cameras for all patrol officers. 

“Chief Mitchell’s service was also marked by increases in police officer pay, benefits and training with an emphasis on community engagement and service improvement training. Significant community engagement events initiated or expanded during Chief Mitchell’s tenure include National Night Out Against Crime, Shop with a Cop, School District Lunch with a Cop, the Police Chaplain program, the Multi-Family Community Program and the Compliance Citation Program.”

Lynda Hacker-Bristow has been the interim police chief in Platte City. The Platte County Sheriff’s Office employee has three 30-day contracts between the city and county that will allow her to serve an interim role.