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Advancing Through the

Ranks During His 28-

Year Career with KHP

Photos courtesy of KHP

Article by Mary Napier

Editor, Kansas Trooper

As the Kansas Highway Patrol celebrates its 80

th

anniversary, I took some time to research and reflect on the

history of the Kansas State Troopers’ Association and the

Kansas Trooper

magazine. If you read the last issue, you

saw first-hand the rich history of the magazine, however

the KHP has a longer history of serving the citizens of

Kansas. Over the last 80 years, 22 superintendents have

led the agency. While some of them came from inside

the agency, others were brought in from outside. Both of

these scenarios have pros and cons, according to a past and

current superintendent.

In the Fall 1984 Kansas Trooper magazine, contributing

editor Maurine Hogue conducted an interview with Colonel

Bert D. Cantwell. Hewas superintendent

from 1983-1987 and again from 1991-

1992. Before joining KHP, he was the

sheriff in Wyandotte County for four

years and then a U.S. Marshal for four

years. He received a law degree and

worked as an attorney for three months,

before accepting the position with KHP.

About being an outsider, he stated,

“There certainly are advantages and

disadvantages, both. I think there are

times, in any organization, that someone

coming from the outside is very good

for the organization, because he brings

in different perspectives. He’ll ask

questions that maybe somebody from

the inside won’t ask. Sometimes, when

you’re on the inside, pretty soon you

can’t see the forest for the trees, because

you’re right in the middle of it.”

While current Colonel Mark

Bruce agrees with Cantwell about new

perspectives, he thinks having the knowledge of the agency

and knowing what the agency is about is a great advantage.

He explained that law enforcement officers aren’t a trusting

sort, which poses a hurdle for outsiders coming in to lead

the agency. He also went on to say that by the time someone

works their way up in the agency to become colonel, they

understand the culture and are empowered to do what is

best from the beginning. It doesn’t take as much time to

earn trust and knowledge about the agency before you can

move forward.

Col. Bruce was confirmed as the 22nd superintendent

of the KHP in early 2015 by the Kansas Legislature. This

spring, I sat down and talked with him about his KHP

career, his goals when he became the

colonel, what has been accomplished

since 2015, and what the future looks

like.

Growing up, Mark’s dad, Jan,

was a service-oriented, public servant

who just wanted to make a positive

difference. He served three decades

in the Air National Guard, along with

working for the KHP. For the KHP,

he served as a trooper in Burlington,

Emporia, Girard, and Ellsworth. Mark

recalled while growing up, there

was a lot of family interaction in the

troops. The interaction wasn’t limited

to the professional job, but there were

personal aspects as well. He said

troopers and their families would

have picnics or even go on vacations

together.

Mark attended Cadet Law in 1984,

and couldn’t wait to join the Patrol.

KHP SUPERINTENDENT

COLONEL MARK BRUCE:

1.

Jack B. Jenkins

1937-1939

2.

E.P. Moomau, Sr.

1939-1942

3.

Will Zurbrucken

1942-1945

4.

L.B. Reed Jr.

1946-1947

5.

Hugh F. Edwards

1947-1955

6.

T.H. Glassock

1955-1957

7.

Harvey Schmedemann 1957-1961

8.

L.E. Hughes

1961-1966

9.

J.H. Reeves

1966-1967

10.

Robert N. Woodson

1967-1969

11.

William L. Albott

1969-1975

12.

Allen C. Rush

1975-1980

13.

David L. Hornbaker

1980-1983

14.

Bert Cantwell

1983-1987

15.

Donald Pickert

1987-1990

16.

Bert Cantwell

1991-1992

17.

Lonnie McCollum 1992-1999

18.

Donald Brownlee

1999-2003

19.

William Seck

2003-2008

20.

Terry Maple

2008-2011

21.

Ernest E. Garcia

2011-2015

22.

Mark A. Bruce

2015-current

KHP Superintendents

However, since you couldn’t apply for the Patrol until

you were 21, he went to boot camp at the age of 18 after

graduating from Ellsworth High School. He served in

the Kansas Air National Guard from 1985 to 1994. Mark

also participated in ROTC at college and cross trained in

law enforcement with the Air Force in 1987. Mark has an

Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Barton County

Community College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in

Psychology from the University of Kansas. In 1998, Mark

was the first graduate of the Master of Criminal Justice

(MCJ) degree program, which Washburn University had

just created in 1996.

As soon as Mark was 21, he applied for a position

with the KHP. He was hired during his second round of

applications, and joined the Patrol on June 18, 1989 as part

of Class #25. Mark served in Manhattan and Linn County

as a road trooper for seven years before transferring to the

Research and Planning Section of General Headquarters in

Topeka.

About his time on the road, he said, “I joined the Patrol

to help create a safe environment for the public on the

highways and from the criminal side. I enjoyed working

hard on the road.”

During his career, Mark continued to set his goals on

moving up in the ranks. He explained that you have to

set yourself apart, sign up for additional training, and prep

yourself by excelling from the road. Then, you have to be

in the right place at the right time. He even took a voluntary

transfer in order to further enhance his experience and

resumé while aspiring for more upward movement.

In 1998, Mark was promoted to sergeant and to second

lieutenant in 2000. In 2003, he was promoted to lieutenant,

then later, to captain of Emergency Operations. When

Homeland Security was created in 2004, he was transferred

there to served as captain. He returned to Support Services

as a captain in 2007. In 2008, he was promoted to major

of Support Services, and began overseeing Public &

Governmental Affairs; Central Communications and the

Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) unit; the KHP

Training Academy; Legal/Records Section; and Human

Resources. In 2013, he rounded out his resuméwhile serving

as major of the Patrol’s West Region and being responsible

for Field Troops C, D, E, and F, as well as Troop M, Central

Communications and CJIS. He served in that position until

2015 when he was appointed as Interim Superintendent of

the Patrol, and confirmed as Superintendent of the KHP.

Mark said his experience with administrative duties,

such as writing policy manuals; determining where funding

was spent; media involvement; legislative duties, including

providing testimony to the legislature; public speaking;

and his political experience during his time with Homeland

Security were advantageous to his career. He believes all

of these experiences, the relationships he established, and

his time on the road, helped him migrate easily into the role

of superintendent, where he is responsible for all operations

of the agency.

When Mark was a child, do you

think he dreamed of one day being

the Colonel of the Kansas Highway

Patrol? When I asked him, he said

“No, I didn’t. I always had an

aspiration for upward movement,

but I thought I would retire as a

captain.” Even though Mark didn’t

picture being in this position early

on in his career, when he became a

major, it looked like a possibility.

And, he is proud to now be leading

the KHP and helping the citizens of

Kansas.

Class #25 graduated in 1989.

Kansas Trooper

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Fall 2017

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Kansas Trooper

Fall 2017