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Department History

Police Circa 1976

Pictured: Sergeant Larry Thornburg, University Director John Michael Thomas, and Nancy Ratcliff. Nancy although a clerk typist in the picture, went on to become one of the first female officers in the department. The location is room 18 in Murphy (A) Building.

History of Police Authority and Service for KU Medical Center

The University of Kansas Police Department was born from humble beginnings. From 1958 to 1976, the campus was protected by a security force that reported to the vice chancellor of facilities operations administration. At this time, only information reports were taken by security officers. Criminal reports were handled by the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department.

On July 1, 1976, security at the University of Kansas Medical Center entered into the world of law enforcement to provide more safety for employees, students, patients and visitors. In the 1980s the University of Kansas Police Department became an independent department.

The department is a fully commissioned law enforcement agency established by the University of Kansas. Police officers are granted authority by statue K.S.A. 76-726 and K.S.A. 22-2401 to enforce the laws of the state of Kansas, county resolutions and city ordinances. KU police jurisdiction includes property owned or operated by KU. In April 1986, KU Police became charter members of the Kansas State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police.

A 1997 Senate bill authorized KU Police officers to extend their jurisdictional authority when acting in an official capacity to property immediately adjacent to the campus, and in certain circumstances, property off campus. In February 1998, the KU Police Department entered into an agreement with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department to have all phases of criminal and non-criminal reports, traffic enforcement and parking regulations within the campus boundaries to be handled by KU Police.

Today, the University of Kansas Police Department is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and is one of only seven Kansas law enforcement agencies and the state's first and only university police department to earn "the gold standard in public safety."

Last modified: Nov 16, 2018