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Alumni Spotlights

Officer Jonathan Westbrook, Kansas City, Kansas Police DepartmentOfficer Jonathan Westbrook, Kansas City, Kansas Police Department
We recently learned that Jonathon Westbrook, (MPA ’15) has been appointed to serve on the Kansas Human Rights Commission. Jonathan was kind enough to share a little information about himself and his time here at KU.

SPAA: When did you start with the KCK police department?
Westbrook: I started my career with the KCKPD in March of 2007. I am a patrol officer, and currently assigned as a youth mentoring program coordinator for the department.

SPAA: Where did you attend undergrad and what did you study?
JW: I graduated from Donnelly College in Kansas City Kansas with my Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership in 2013.

SPAA: What inspired you to get an MPA, and why KU
JW: I’ve always been a fan of the KU. I first visited the campus while in middle school through the TRIO program. After graduating with my bachelor's, a mentor strongly suggested I follow up with my MPA and she also noted that the program had a top ranking in the nation. I researched and saw what some of the School’s alumni had accomplished post-graduation and figured their education had something to with their success, and I wanted to be part of that.

SPAA: Can you share a memory about the KU MPA program?
JW: My fondest memory from the KU MPA program was the opportunity to see Bill Clinton speak on the campus. He offered words of inspiration and encouragement.

SPAA: Tell us about your appointment to the KS Human Rights Commission.
JW: I’ll be serving a four year term as the commissioner of the Human Rights Commission. I was appointed by Governor Brownback on September 26, 2017. My term started immediately. I also was appointed by Kris Kobach to the African American Affairs Commission.

SPAA: Was your appointment a surprise, or did you intentionally seek an appointment?
JW: I’m still not sure how my name was brought before anyone. I’ve been involved in some political groups and outreach and I assume someone I may have met in passing thought enough of me to nominate me. I’ve always sought other ways to give back and get involved, so once I was notified of the opportunity I did whatever it took to make it happen. The process is fairly intensive; with a very thorough background check completed by the KBI lots of paperwork that required some research on my past.

SPAA: How does it tie in with your job as an officer for KCK police?
JW: There is no direct tie in to my job as an officer other than public service, and pursuing equity and equal access for all citizens for the state.

SPAA: What you hope to accomplish on the commission?
JW: I’ve been blessed with a heart and opportunities to serve. Throughout my tenure as commissioner, I desire to learn as much as I can, serve those whom I represent, and make the future Kansas a better place for my family, friends and neighbors to work and live.