Raising public awareness about the agencies, programs and initiatives supported through the Community Backed Anti-Drug Sales Tax is among Stacey Daniels-Young’s chief objectives as Jackson County’s new COMBAT Director.
“We need to give the citizens of the County a greater understanding of all that COMBAT entails,” said Daniels-Young. “We need to demonstrate how COMBAT improves not only the lives of individuals, but improves our communities as a whole.”
She assumed her duties as director April 6, joining Assistant Director Vincent M. Ortega and Planning and Development Administrator David Fleming in forming a new COMBAT leadership team. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders announced the hiring of all three during a February 17 press conference, noting that bringing on board the new senior staff fulfilled the final recommendations of the COMBAT Review Committee he formed in March of 2007.
“We have three exceptionally well qualified individuals in these roles, and I’m confident that they will be able to make COMBAT an even more effective program,” said Sanders. “COMBAT is already an excellent tool for prevention and treatment as well as reducing drug-related crime as a whole. With our new COMBAT leadership team, we're looking to move forward and build upon this foundation.”
Daniels-Young believes her experience complements the experience of both Ortega, former assistant chief of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department; and Fleming, a former Missouri Department of Health administrator focusing on substance abuse.
“I’m eager to work with them,” she said. “We have different backgrounds, each bringing our own expertise to work in the areas that COMBAT addresses. Together, we can make sure that the program as a whole is achieving as much as it possibly can.”
COMBAT’s four areas of concentration are prevention, treatment, law enforcement and prosecution. Under COMBAT’s restructuring the Director now reports to the County Executive.
Former Police Commissioner
Daniels-Young, who earned a PhD in Community Psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, had served as Chief Executive Officer of the Black Health Care Coalition of Kansas City since 2005. She spent 14 years working at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, including as Director of Research and Evaluation and finally as Director of Development.
From 1995 through 2003, she served on the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, with two terms as President of the Board.
Following up on the Review Committee's report, Daniels-Young is now working with her staff to draft and implement a comprehensive plan for COMBAT.
“We need a strategic plan,” she said, “to which COMBAT can be held accountable.”