2019 Woman of the Year
Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation honored Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker as the 2019 Greater Missouri Leadership Woman of the Year in Kansas City. Jean Peters Baker has cemented a reputation during her tenure as Jackson County’s elected prosecutor as a fearless and compassionate advocate for the victims of crime, especially the young and most vulnerable, and a champion of working with police and community leaders to confront the complex problem of violence.
Baker was appointed prosecutor in May 2011 and elected to the position in November 2012. She is only the second woman elected to lead the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office; the first, now-U.S. Sen. Claire MacAskill, hired Baker as a young assistant prosecutor. Baker has since served in nearly every unit of the office. She is widely recognized as being unafraid of tackling difficult cases. In 2011, Baker prosecuted the bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for failing to report potential abuse of children by a priest.
Baker’s focus as a prosecutor has been to make Jackson County a safer and better place to live, work, and raise a family. Baker has set as an office goal to more closely connect the prosecutor’s office to the community and more smartly address and reduce crime, especially violent crime. Baker initiated a new violence reduction effort that now is known as the Kansas City No Violence Alliance (KC NoVA), led by Baker, Mayor Sly James, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte’ and U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson. KC NoVA in 2014 was able to help the community reduce homicides in Kansas City to the lowest level in four decades.