100 Years, 100 Stories
Video: Darryl Forte graduated from Metropolitan Community College in 1985. He is now Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte.
He’d wanted to become a police officer since he was 12 years old. As a kid he met a police officer at 76th and Monroe in Kansas City. The officer was so nice and spent two hours with Forte. The officer gave a young Darryl some advice: “Never smoke and never drink, and you can become a police officer.”
Forte jokes, “Of course, since becoming a police officer I know people can smoke and drink. But I never smoked. I’m 52. And I’ve never smoked a cigarette (or) experimented with drugs and I’ve never tasted alcohol.”
Chief Forte graduated from MCC-Penn Valley with an associate degree in applied science with administration of justice emphasis.
“I graduated from high school in 1980, and I went to vo-tech school to be an automotive diesel mechanic. I received my certificate after that. And my mom told me at the time – if you go to college or you continue your education, you can remain at the house, you don’t have to pay rent. So I’m thinking, well, I need to sign up for college then!”
MCC is also where Forte met his wife. In August of 1985, the police academy was housed at MCC-Penn Valley. “That’s when I saw my wife. I saw her walking down the hall with a tennis racket.” Forte and his wife have been married for 29 years.
Forte is the 44th Kansas City police chief, appointed in 2011.
“I’m very proud. You know, when you look back and they had race riots back in ’68 in Kansas City, I was 5 years old when that happened. I still remember some of the things.
“Kansas City has come a long way. We’re a lot safer than we were before. People are together. There’s no dividing line by law. There’s some dividing lines, but there’s no dividing lines by law. So we’re coming together, and we’re making it a great community. It’s truly a melting pot.”
He understands firsthand the importance of linking education and community. His hope for MCC’s future is for the college to continue to be strong and continue to produce leaders.
“I actually had 90-something credit hours when I graduated. I just kept going. And then I just went to the registrar’s office once, it was in ’85, and said, ‘How close am I?’ And she said, ‘You could have graduated last year.’ “
Forte said he kept going because it was a great environment.
“I just hope that we continue to support the college, because I’d like for it to be around another 100 years, because it’s benefited me and so many other family members and friends.”