From Night Watchman to Full Force: UK Police celebrates 50 years

Special events, activities planned all year to honor milestone
LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Public Relations)This year marks the 50th anniversary for the University of Kentucky Police Department (UKPD), a significant milestone for the campus community.

“We have a long and rich history of supporting the University of Kentucky and its people,” said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe. “From the beginning, this department has prioritized the protection and safety of UK students, faculty and staff, as well as campus visitors we have on any given day.”

Indeed, what started as a night watchman service tasked with basic security has now grown into a full-service police department now tasked with patrol operations; the safety and security of UK Chandler Medical Center, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Eastern State Hospital; Crisis Management and Preparedness; and Event Management, among other responsibilities.

In 1972, as a response to increased demands on university campuses nationwide, the Kentucky legislature enacted KRS 164.950, giving all state public universities the power to create campus police agencies and set standards for campus police officers. Then, in August 1972, the Office of the President established the Public Safety Division, which would later expand to about 35 sworn officers in 1983.

“There was an increasing need for public safety measures, and this department was able to answer that call,” said UK Deputy Police Chief Nate Brown.

Since that time, UKPD has continued to grow, offering more holistic resources to the community, such as classes focusing on self-defense and prevention and programs such as the Citizens Police Academy and Coffee with the Chief — an opportunity to gain feedback and insight from members of the campus community on safety at UK.

“We have always been committed to building a foundation of trust and transparency with the university community,” said Monroe. “I see that demonstrated every day by our officers, who are well-trained and have a deep sense of compassion for those we serve. We work hard every day to prepare for the challenges tomorrow brings.”

“The UK Police Department has helped ensure that we have a safe campus, where the well-being of our entire community is a priority,” said Eric N. Monday, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration. “The investments we’ve made to ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors are a reflection of our commitment to putting our community first.”

In celebration of the department’s 50th anniversary, all sworn officers will receive a new badge and uniform patch, recognizing UKPD’s important history. UKPD will also host different community events throughout the year.

Visit this page for a more in-depth look at the history of UKPD. Members of the community are encouraged to follow UKPD social media for more information.

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