Campus News

UKPD Honors Black History Month

UK police officers, including Robert Stoudemire, on campus
Officer Robert Stoudemire talks with Carol Taylor, a student at Lexington Community College.
Robert Stoudemire talks with Keeneland patron Joan Jaber

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 10, 2022) — In celebration of Black History Month, along with its 50th anniversary, the University of Kentucky Police Department (UKPD) is proud to honor its own Black history. Robert C. Stoudemire was the first African American police officer for UKPD.

Stoudemire started his career with UKPD in the mid 1960s. He was among 19 police and other law enforcement officers graduating the basic police training course held at Eastern Kentucky University in 1970. Stoudemire had a successful 30-year career with UKPD before retiring in 1994 and working at Keeneland Race Course as an usher, as well as with UK Athletics. Stoudemire loved talking to people. His wife, Agnes Stoudemire, said he was a very kind, good-hearted and supportive person. “He was a very good family man,” she said. 

UK Police Lieutenant Greg Hall said Stoudemire “was always upbeat. He took on any task and did not complain. He was just a happy person.” Officer Alan Saylor, who also worked with Stoudemire, said, “As a new officer, I was assigned to Stoudemire, who was a detective at the time. He was always joking and laughing with fellow officers. I never saw him temperamental, but always upbeat. He stayed that way throughout his time here, and when I would see him at ball games where he was an usher. I’m glad I got to meet and work with him.” 

During his time with UKPD, Stoudemire was very well known for being the bodyguard to UK Basketball’s very own, Adolph Rupp, during home games. Agnes Stoudemire said her husband was proud of this accomplishment. “He was well thought of. Whatever he did, he did a great job. Everyone thought well of him and enjoyed working with him,” she stated.  

Former UK Chief of Police W.H. McComas was chief from 1987-1997, during the time of Stoudemire’s retirement. He remembers that Stoudemire was well respected by everyone. 

“If you were a police officer needing backup, he would be there,” stated McComas. He recounted how UK Athletics honored Stoudemire during halftime at a home game just before he retired in 1994. “He was a special person,” said McComas.

Both Agnes Stoudemire and Chief McComas shared a special accomplishment of Robert Stoudemire’s: the publishing of his book "Confused World," which was published in 1978.

When speaking with Agnes Stoudemire about her experience as a police wife for UKPD, she had this advice to share; “If policing is your passion, and what you’re interested in, learn as much as you can about it and go for it!”  

Robert Stoudemire passed away in 2008 at the age of 69. Along with his wife, Stoudemire is survived by their two children, Sharon Stoudemire-Williams and Robert L. Stoudemire. 

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.

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 $476.5 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.