When designing the 2006 expansion of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center south of Hutchinson, architects left a mound of dirt with a cement platform in the courtyard between the campus cafeteria and auditorium. The embankment would become the ideal location to honor the men and women sworn to protect and serve.
The knoll sat dormant until 2015, when Bob Senecal and his wife, Evelyn, visited the campus and told Director Ed Pavey of their desire to commission a monument for KLETC, which since 1968 has provided vital basic training for all law enforcement officers in Kansas. The KLETC is a division of KU Professional & Continuing Education, which Bob Senecal led for 21 years as dean during his KU career of more than 30 years.
The Senecals collaborated with Austin Weishel, a nationally recognized sculptor from Loveland, Colorado, and the KLETC staff to create a vision for “The Protector,” a bronze sculpture unveiled July 27 at a celebration that included Chancellor Douglas Girod and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, j’90, SJD’16.
“The work that our law enforcement provide across the state and region is absolutely critical in today’s society and certainly very challenging,” Girod said. “The preparation they get through this center is so important. Ultimately, it’s about a sworn duty to protect, which is why I think the name of this statue is so fitting.”
“While the training and the science of law enforcement is so critical, … it really is the art of law enforcement that makes a good cop,” Schmidt said, “so I think it’s really important that we’re here today celebrating the addition of a central piece of art to the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.”
While the new statue is sure to catch the eye of those working and training at the KLETC, the campus also welcomes visitors. To schedule a tour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, contact Lisa Webster, assistant to the director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Left to right: Chancellor Girod; David Cook, vice chancellor of the KU Edwards Campus; Ed Pavey, KLETC director; Evelyn and Bob Senecal; Attorney General Derek Schmidt; and Sharon Graham, assistant vice chancellor of KU Professional & Continuing Education
The Association hosted a dinner Thursday, Aug. 1 for 125 cadets, instructors and leaders of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, which KU has operated for more than 40 years in Yoder, 12 miles south of Hutchinson. Lynn Loveland, the Association’s assistant director for Kansas programs, and Teri Harris, director of membership, traveled to the KLETC to celebrate the cadets’ graduation, thank them for their service to Kansas communities, welcome them to the Jayhawk network and encourage them to get involved with their local alumni chapter. Since 2011, the Association has hosted two events each year in Yoder.
KLETC director Ed Pavey was the featured speaker, answering a question common among many alumni: How did the University of Kansas become involved in police training? When the Kansas Legislature created KLETC in 1968 as the central headquarters for all law enforcement training in Kansas, legislators needed someone to provide organizational oversight. The decision was easy. KU had been involved in law enforcement training since the mid-1940s through the University’s Governmental Research Unit. Police officers from across Kansas had traveled to the Lawrence campus to attend training sessions and workshops that focused on topics including homicide investigation, crowd control, traffic collisions and other important law enforcement topics.
To get up and running quickly, the center needed classroom and office space, as well as dormitory-style lodging that could be used immediately. Buildings on the former U.S. Naval Air Station located 12 miles southeast of Hutchinson were available, and the U.S. government advised the University that two buildings on the base grounds could be used with little renovation: They had been used during World War II and the Korean War for classroom instruction and dormitory housing for U.S. Navy pilots in training.
KU established KLETC in 1969, and the campus has continued to grow. Two new dormitory buildings that house 231 officers were constructed in 1998 and 2009. The center also features a state-of-the-art Emergency Vehicle Operations Driver Training Facility named after Robert J. Senecal, retired dean of KU Continuing Education, a 16-station firearms range and adjacent shotgun range, a crime scene house, a tactical shooting house, 15 classrooms and an 800-seat auditorium that can be divided into three separate training venues. The KLETC campus now spans 173 acres.
More than 400 officers from across Kansas are trained annually in basic programs. In addition, more than 5,000 veteran officers attend KLETC-provided or sponsored continuing education programs each year.
The KU Alumni Association is proud to support the KLETC by hosting a congratulatory banquet for new graduates of the training program.
The KU Alumni Association periodically hosts congratulatory cookouts for cadets graduating from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center near Hutchinson. Nearly 80 new officers were in attendance as they completed their 14-week, 560-hour program at the center, which is a division of KU Continuing Education.
The KLETC was created in 1968 and is the central headquarters for all law enforcement training in Kansas. The 173-acre campus has 15 buildings, a 16-station firearms range and a 1.78-mile emergency vehicle operations driver training facility.
“When people think of KU,” says Director Ed Pavey, “they think of the Lawrence campus, or the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, or the Med Center campuses in KC or Wichita, not KLETC in Yoder. The involvement of the KU Alumni Association in hosting these barbecue dinners is truly appreciated and sends a strong signal of the KU Alumni Association’s support of KLETC.”
Congratulations to the new graduates! (View photos of the event above, or view them on Flickr.)