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Agency Spotlight: UMKCPD

Congratulations to the University of Missouri – Kansas City Police Department (UMKCPD) on achieving initial Accreditation from IACLEA.

Learn more about the department in this Agency Spotlight report.

The University of Missouri – Kansas City was chartered in 1929 and today enrolls nearly 17,000 students. Academics expanded as the university collaborated with area schools to add more divisions, programs, and majors. In 1938, the Kansas City School of Law merged to form the Law School. In 1941, the Kansas City – Western Dental College joined the university and remains the only dental school in Missouri. Located on the Hospital Hill campus, next to a regional medical center, the School of Medicine was founded in 1971, offering a unique and revolutionary six-year combined Bachelor/MD program. 

The University of Missouri – Kansas City Police Department (UMKCPD) is a full-service law enforcement agency. It was originally established in 1963 as the UMKC Traffic Safety and Security Department. The department grew rapidly, and by 1967 the department employed 40 people as security guards. During that time, all employees began attending the Missouri State Highway Patrol Basic Police Academy. In 1971, the department was named the UMKC Police Department. All future officers attended the Regional Training Academy operated by the Kansas City Police Department. 

In early 2002, UMKCPD worked with the Kansas City Police Department, their legal counsel, and the University of Missouri System General Counsel to establish a memorandum of understanding that gives all UMKC police officers the authority to enforce Kansas City ordinances. This additional authority supported the already established authority of all commissioned UMKC police officers to enforce Missouri statutes as granted to all state-certified Missouri peace officers.

UMKCPD moved to its current location in the northwest corner of the Cherry Street Parking Structure in September 2012. The new, larger office space includes a large training area, evidence-processing area, and temporary detention and processing areas. Today the UMKCPD is comprised of 28 sworn police officers and 11 civilian employees. The agency is divided into two major functional areas.  Support Operations, commanded by Captain Joseph Rucinski, houses the professional standards, communication, training, property/evidence, crime prevention/victim assistance, and criminal investigation functions.  Patrol Operations, commanded by Captain Donald Simmons, includes all patrol and security (non-sworn) functions.

Chief Michael Bongartz, who has served the UMKCPD since 1987, was appointed chief in January 2009. A graduate of Park University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration and Sociology, he attained the rank of sergeant in 1991 and was promoted to captain in 2005.

Commenting on the reasons for pursuing IACLEA Accreditation, Chief Bongartz noted, “Accreditation is a means by which we monitor, assess, and evaluate the standards and professionalism of our department. This process ensures that we properly conduct ourselves to the highest of standards, and it holds us accountable to the community we serve.”


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