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Kansas City, Kansas, officer who appeared ‘high’ while on duty loses police license

A Kansas City, Kansas, police officer who appeared “high” while responding to a call last year has lost his state police certification.

James Shepherd joined the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department in January 2018.

According to court documents filed in a federal lawsuit in October, Shepherd responded to a child custody dispute in January 2023.

“Shepherd appeared to be under the influence of some drug as he had to lean on the wall for support, spoke so quickly that the plaintiffs could barely hear him, his face was red, he blinked at an unusual frequency, slurred words and generally acted strangely,” the lawsuit alleged.

A video of the encounter was posted on social media.

The criminal charges were dismissed and the lawsuit was dismissed in January.

The Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Trainings, or CPOST, which certifies officers in the state, received a complaint about Shepherd, including the recording.

The commission arranged for an interview with Shepherd to determine whether prescription drugs were affecting his ability as a police officer. According to CPOST documents, Shepherd’s attorney then told the committee he would not attend the interview.

The commission can revoke an officer’s license if he or she does not cooperate with an investigation. Shepherd’s certification was revoked on May 9, records show.

Nikki Richardson, co-founder of Justice for Wyandotte, said the organization became aware of the incident in January 2023.

“Justice for Wyandotte has continued to affirm that the KCKPD must be continually held accountable, especially at any time when a law enforcement officer is not fit to be a police officer,” she said.

Richardson said she believed CPOST’s repeal was the right response.

“I would hate for the police officer to leave here and go somewhere else and cause damage as well,” she said.

The Kansas City, Kansas, police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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