For those who may have wondered if the UMKC Police Department is capable of enforcing the law just as outside law enforcement is, the answer is yes.
The UMKC Police Department is a fully operational department which can enforce the law just as much as city police can. However, their jurisdiction is partially limited to the campus itself. That’s not to say that if an officer witnessed a crime off campus then the officer wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Being a fully certified and sworn officer of the law enables UMKC Police to intervene in a situation outside campus, and, perhaps, detain a suspect until city police arrive to take over.
“We have 33 officers here that work three shifts each day,” said Crime Prevention Officer Jalonn Gordon.
Each officer has attended police academy and is a fully certified and sworn law enforcement officer.
“If, say for instance, one of our officers was in transit to Grandview, and they saw a crime being committed, they could intervene and hold a suspect until Grandview Police arrive and take over,” Gordon said.
Though the UMKC Police Department is not affiliated with the Kansas City Police Department, they work together frequently.
“We have a great relationship with the Kansas City Police,” Gordon said. “We can call on them for assistance, and they can call on us for help if they need it, too.”
In addition to the UMKC Police Department, the campus also employs Campus Security. They are part of the UMKC Police Department, but do not have the same authority as the police themselves. Campus Security officers are not sworn law enforcement. They have limited training, such as conflict resolution, and they wear different uniforms than the police.
“Their main job is to observe and report,” Gordon said.
Campus Security is usually assigned to certain areas and buildings around campus. If Campus Security sees a situation that may require law enforcement, they would simply observe the situation and call on UMKC Police to respond.
Of the many duties campus police have, traffic enforcement is one of the most common they will perform. The department concentrates on heavily trafficked areas such as Rockhill Road and Oak Street, the two heaviest traveled roads on campus. In addition to the speeding problem, the officers look for pedestrians and vehicles not observing the pedestrian crossings properly.
The most common type of crime that occurs on campus is theft, or what Gordon calls “crimes of opportunity.”
“A student is in a rush, forgets to lock his or her car, leaves the keys in the car, and someone comes along and steals something,” Gordon said.
The UMKC Police Department recommends that students not leave items that may attract thieves laying out in their vehicles, and lock and secure all personal possessions.
Their campus headquarters has anything a city police department would have, including fingerprint stations, interview rooms, training areas and a detaining cell.
Officers are always training, and recently two members of the staff got training from federal agents on active shooters. Those members returned to UMKC to train the rest of the UMKC Police .
All UMKC Police wear body cameras when they are out of the station and on duty.
“From the time they leave the station to the time they return, everything is recorded,” Gordon said.
The department is located at 5005 Oak Street, and is open 24/7 all year.