The Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LEIU) was the most elite unit on the KCPD. LEIU was also the name of a national organization of police intelligence units. In the 1950s as criminals became more mobile operating across state lines, larger city police departments found it difficult at best to learn about criminals who were from far off cities. In particular, La Cosa Nostra families, were committing criminal conspiracies that encompassed several jurisdictions. The F.B.I. and most notably, J. Edgar Hoover, did not trust local police departments, sometimes for good reason. Hoover did not believe there was Sicilian based organized crime families either. Not all local police departments were riddled with corruption and in 1956, representatives from 26 local and state law enforcement agencies met in California and formed the LEIU to share information. One of the first rules was that they allowed no new members if any existing member accused the new applicant of allowing any kind of corruption inside the department. They knew that to be effective and foster an atmosphere where confidential information could be freely shared, they must remain more virtuous than Caesar’s wife. At one time, a paranoid J. Edgar Hoover ordered agents to investigate this new organization. Hoover soon learned the new organization was above corruption and could be an asset. LEIU could be called the Interpol of the United States. At one time they were so secret that most officers of the member agencies were unaware of the national LEIU organization. Today they have a public website and a LEIU Facebook Page you can like.
I was selected to join the KCPD Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit in 1976. I was just in time to take part in a major investigation of the mob in Kansas City. During my 13 years as a detective I investigated members of the Civella crime family, groups advocating civil disorder, the KKK and other professional criminals operating across jurisdictional boundaries. In my next posts I will begin telling stories from my career.