early 2015, Col.
Bruce said his focus
was on morale.
While that word
has become sort of
cliché, the attitude
of the employees in
the Patrol and their
the first thing Mark
wanted to address.
This was important,
considering it was
the most conclusive
KHP survey done
during the tenure
of the previous
s u p e r i n t e n d e n t .
philosophy was to
give the agency back to the employees, and to entrust them
to do the job they were hired to do. Part of that process
was reviewing all the job descriptions in the agency, so
everyone knew what they were expected to do.
“People got into the KHP for the right reasons, but they
didn’t feel appreciated by the agency,” said Col. Bruce. “It
was important to get everyone on the same page, and to help
get over things attributed to the previous administration.”
Col. Bruce said it was simple. Treat others like you
want to be treated and maintain standards, so people
know what is next. He explained it was imperative to
look at the agency like a business using the best possible
decisions to realign sections to be more effective and to
acquire additional resources. A survey shortly after the new
administration took over in 2015 was a positive indicator
they were moving in the right direction, but Col. Bruce
said, “We are still working on it.”
After taking over as Superintendent, Col. Bruce
opened up dialogue with the KSTA in order to be open and
receptive on both sides. He knows the KSTA exists for a
reason, so he wanted an open line of communication at all
times rather than just through the meet and confer process.
Another focus of Col. Bruce and his administration
is the reduction of fatalities out on the roadways.
Special enforcements in certain problem areas have been
implemented, and the KHP continues to publicize these
so the public knows what they are doing. The special
enforcements are also being used to help educate the public.
“Driving shouldn’t be a casual activity, but we can’t
stop the distractions,” said Col. Bruce. “As cars continue to
come with more bells and whistles than people ever know
how to use, we aren’t just fighting cell phones anymore.
Until citizens stop treating driving like a casual activity, we
can’t significantly reduce fatalities.”
When I asked about Col. Bruce’s least favorite thing
about leading the KHP, he said “Discipline. Discipline
is necessary, but you never enjoy it. We care about our
people, but it is part of the law enforcement world in order
to protect the agency and its employees.”
What does Col. Bruce see as the next goal during his
tenure as Superintendent? He says the next step is more
people. In 2006, the KHP had 501 troopers. In 2014, they
had 414 and were about 100 short of where they needed
to be. During this shortage, local police and sheriff’s
departments have had to go help patrol the highways.
Col. Bruce believes they need to be allowed to focus on
local issues in their communities rather than patrolling the
highways, which is the job of the KHP.
Also, the KHP needs to figure out how to balance road
duties with special capabilities to help departments across
the state. That means more people to work on special units,
and others to cover the highways. Col. Bruce says the
actions of the legislature, and the larger recruit classes are
helping fill the gap. But, more bodies and more money are
going to be needed in the future to help keep the citizens of
Col. Bruce will serve as the Superintendent of the
KHP until at least the end of 2018. He isn’t sure what the
future holds at that point, but he is currently focused on the
employees of the KHP and serving the citizens of Kansas.
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