Travis Forbes has spent his entire 22-year police career in Independence, but that will all change in September.
Forbes, currently a deputy police chief in Independence, was named the new police chief in Lee’s Summit July 16. The announcement came after a seven-month national search to replace Joe Piccinini, who retired in January after seven years as chief and 30 on the force.
Forbes will join the Lee’s Summit Police Department Sept. 2.
“I feel humbled and excited,” Forbes said shortly after his hiring became public. “It’s a great opportunity. It’s a terrific police department.”
A 22-year veteran of the Independence Police Department, Forbes said his on-the-job training the last two decades has prepared him for the transition to chief in Lee’s Summit.
“We’re exposed to a lot of different challenges here in Independence,” he said. “I think that’s really helped mold me as a police officer and an administrator as well. (Independence Police) Chief (Tom) Dailey and (former Independence Police) Chief (Fred) Mills have taught me a lot. Both put me in situations to groom me, as deputy chief, for the future. I think that’s great and has really benefited me.”
In a statement, Stephen Arbo, city manager for Lee’s Summit, added: “Travis currently serves one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the Kansas City metropolitan area. As our city continues to grow both in population and commercial activity, it is important to have a leader familiar with a larger city and organization.”
Lee’s Summit Police Department Major Scott Lyons seved as the city’s interim police chief since Piccinini’s retirement. Forbes said he has worked with both Lyons and Piccinini in the past.
“Chief Piccinini, and I know Scott Lyons as well, I think they’ve done a great job with the agency,” he said. “They’ve very well-respected.”
Arbo said Lyons, who was also considered for the position, served the Lee’s Summit community well as interim chief.
“We are fortunate that he was available to step up to this leadership position and carry out the mission of the Lee’s Summit Police Department,” Arbo said. “I am grateful for his service during the last seven months and will look forward to his continued support of our community well into the future.”
Added Lyons: “I have known Travis for a great number of years, as a personal friend, colleague, and have served side-by-side with him on the drug task force. He is a tremendous person, and has a high degree of professionalism and integrity. I am honored that he was selected as police chief. I will be dedicating my efforts towards supporting his success.
“I want to thank the command staff and employees of the Lee’s Summit Police Department for their commitment during the last seven months of transition. I know we all are looking forward to new leadership, and our continuing commitment to excellence.”
According to his bio, Forbes has an extensive and diverse background in law enforcement, all of which has been with Independence police.
While serving as deputy police chief, he represented the police department during union contract negotiations, city council meetings and professional organization meetings. He authored the department’s five-year strategic plan and provided oversight of a multi-jurisdictional radio system upgrade, facility rehabilitation, and communications building projects.
Prior to serving as the deputy police chief in Independence, Forbes moved up the ranks within the department. He served as police officer/detective from 1992-1998; police sergeant from 1998-2003; police captain from 2003-2006; and police major from 2006-2013. Forbes has also served as an adjunct college professor teaching more than 20 different courses in criminal justice, management, and public administration at five different universities and colleges.
Forbes’ father is the police chief in Lone Jack and his late grandfather was a trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. His wife, Michelle, is a middle school business teacher in the Fort Osage School District. The couple has three children, 20-year-old Logan, 21-year-old Tanner, and 15-year-old Raven.
The family plans – pursuant to city policy – to move Lee’s Summit in the coming months.
“I’m selling my house right now,” Forbes said. “And looking forward to finding a spot to live in Lee’s Summit.”