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Police awardsKansas City, Kan., Police Chief Rick Armstrong was named the new police chief for the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools, beginning in February, after he retires. (File photo)
At its meeting last night, the Kansas City, Kan., Board of Education selected Rick L. Armstrong as the first chief of the newly-formed police department in the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools. Armstrong, who brings more than 35 years of law enforcement experience to the job, is currently the chief of police for the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department.
He plans to start the new position in February, after he retires, spokesman said.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Chief Armstrong’s experience and qualifications to assist us in forming our new police department,” said Cynthia Lane, superintendent of schools. “I am confident that, with his leadership, we will be able to proceed smoothly and efficiently with the formation of our new department.”
Last spring, the Kansas City, Kan., Board of Education voted to transition from campus security to sworn law enforcement officers, through the formation of its own police department. Other large districts in Kansas, including Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission, and Wichita, already have police departments.
“After reviewing our safety and security procedures,” Lane said, “we came to the conclusion that converting to sworn law enforcement officers through the establishment of a police department was the best way to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our students and staff. Chief Armstrong has both the leadership and law enforcement experience necessary to lead us through this process.”
Armstrong has served as chief of police for the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, since 2010. During that time, he has led the development and construction of a new police academy and Mid-Town Patrol Station, led a strategic planning process and department redesign, and led a 41 percent reduction in violent crime in Kansas City, Kan., in the past five years.
Armstrong served his entire career with the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, becoming only the second cadet to rise to the rank of chief. He was the youngest captain in the history of the department to attain rank under competitive testing, and has served in patrol, planning the motorcycle unit and community policing. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Kansas City Kansas Community College since 1991. He is a long-time resident of Kansas City, Kan., and a graduate of Harmon High School.
Along with the establishment of the new department, Armstrong is looking forward to establishing innovative programs to enhance student, staff and building safety.
“My vision is for the new campus police department to serve as an enhancement to the school district,” Armstrong said. “KCKPS has very safe schools. My goal will be to enhance district security, and to make sure that every campus is a safe environment that encourages students to become life-long learners, and adults to inspire excellence for every child, every day.”
Armstrong will begin his tenure with the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools in February, after his retirement from the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department.
Tammy Dodderidge is the communications manager with the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools.