Trending Topics

No ‘gray hair': Former cop claims he was denied SRO job, punished because of age

Kevin Bellmyer, 50, alleges in a lawsuit that he was discriminated against based on his age

officer kevin bellmyer

Grain Valley Police Department

By Bill Lukitsch
The Kansas City Star

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — A former Grain Valley policeman claims in a civil lawsuit that he was passed over for a job working as a school resource officer because of his age and later retaliated against by his superiors for complaining.

Kevin Bellmyer, 50, of Bates City, filed a lawsuit against the city on Friday alleging he was discriminated against based on his age. He is seeking damages from the city for lost wages and alleged damage to his reputation among other things, according to court records.

In an email Wednesday, City Administrator Ken Murphy said the city does not comment on personnel matters or pending lawsuits. Murphy added that Bellmyer is no longer employed by the city.

The lawsuit alleges Bellmyer began working for the department in March 2019 and was one of two who applied for a job as the school resource officer for Grain Valley High School around December 2020. Shortly after, the lawsuit alleges another supervisor overheard Police Chief James Beale say: “We don’t need any gray hair in the school.”

Following a formal interview in January 2021, the lawsuit alleges a panel of Grain Valley police officers and school personnel recommended Bellmyer for the job. It claims the job was instead offered to another officer who was younger and had less experience.

[RELATED: How old is too old? Chicago suburb declines to raise maximum age for new cops]

Bellmyer filed a formal complaint was filed with the human resources department in April 2021, the lawsuit says. It also claims Bellmyer was subjected to a hostile work environment for raising the complaint.

The lawsuit comes two weeks after another discrimination claim was brought against the department in Jackson County Circuit Court. In a separate case, a Grain Valley police sergeant sued the city alleging she was passed over for opportunities that were given to men.

Sgt. Shannon Carr, a current officer, alleges the department pays her less than male sergeants and certain responsibilities were taken away from her and given to men. She also claimed that, while interviewing for a detective position, she was asked whether she would require additional time to show up at crime scenes so she could do her hair and put on makeup.

(c)2022 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)