Campus News

UKPD celebrates 50 years of service

The UK Police Department celebrates 50 years of service to the university community.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2022) — Monday marked the 50th anniversary for the University of Kentucky Police Department (UKPD). What once was a night watchmen service providing basic security is now a full-service police department.

In 1972, 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. As a result, on Aug. 8, 1972, the university established the Public Safety Division.

"Our department has a rich history of serving this community,” said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe. “We have evolved to meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff, and we look forward to preserve our long-standing legacy of excellence moving forward.”

UKPD was established with a mission to promote a safe and secure campus environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors at the university. Since 1996, the department has maintained accreditation through the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police.

Over the years, UK's police department has grown exponentially in size and services offered to the community. The department now offers a holistic variety of activities and programs to promote safety and security on UK’s campus, including self-defense classes, crime prevention, active aggressor training, de-escalation training and a citizen's police academy.

In addition to UKPD’s health care security division, UK Police established a Special Victims Unit, a Crisis Management and Preparedness team, a Tech Division, an Event Management team, a drone unit, ID operations as well as an administrative and fiscal support unit. It also has a group of telecommunications officers who respond to all calls and ensure the safety of our officers.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the department, UKPD hosted a picnic for former and current UKPD employees, their families and friends of the department.

To learn more about the department’s history, watch this highlight video.

Photo of UKPD badge

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.