(Editor’s note: Rosilyn Temple is the executive director of KC Mothers in Charge. Darryl Forte became chief of police approximately six weeks before Rosilyn’s son, Pee Wee, was found murdered on Thanksgiving Eve, 2011. They have worked together from that time on.)
It was right around the time my son Pee Wee was killed in 2011 when I started hearing that Kansas City had a new police chief and this chief of police was coming out to every homicide scene. I remember thinking this was something really lacking in our community. I knew I had to meet this chief.
I finally got myself a little bit together after my son’s death and called the chief’s assistant, Liz. She’s still there. I told her who I was and said I wanted a meeting Chief Darryl Forte. She said, I’m gonna call you back when I have a day and time for you to meet him. And I just kept calling back every day. And she said, Ms. Temple, “I promise I will call you back.” Finally she called me and said I had an appointment with the chief. I went in, I said, “My name is Rosilyn Temple. My son was Antonio Thompson, known as PeeWee. He was murdered Thanksgiving Eve.” I said, “I want to go to the homicide scene to support the families of other victims, and the police department because I know what they’re going through.” And he said, “I’ve been looking for someone like you.”
Chief Forte gave me an opportunity to give back to my community, to the police department, to families. People look at me and say: opportunity? Because it is hard to be around so much death and grief. But to me, it is an opportunity. To stand and be that person who has been through it and knows how it feels. And to say “We care.”
I remember the chief driving by my house one Saturday morning. I was going out to my car when he drove by and honked his horn. People said, “That’s the chief of police.” That made me feel so safe, to have him present in my neighborhood.”
I was at a homicide scene one night and I see this motorcycle. And it kept getting closer and closer. And I was like, what’s this motorcycle doing? It drove right up to me. And this guy says, “It’s me. It’s the chief.” It makes me laugh to think about that.
I found out he was retiring through the media. I was hurt because he was from this community, he loves this community, he was a community chief. But then I thought, he worked hard. He wants to be with his family. He deserves to live his life. So now what I say is: Well done, good and faithful servant, Chief Darryl Forte.