KU police adding more positions, equipment to prepare for campus carry

Kansas University police rolled out new patrol vehicles in May, switching from sedans to SUVs featuring student-designed graphics.

The University of Kansas Office of Public Safety is adding six new positions, plus new equipment, in response to concealed carry on campus starting this summer.

The office is adding three sworn police officers to increase patrols in busy areas of campus, four portable metal detectors and three security officers to man them, after gaining budget approval from university administration, police chief Chris Keary said.

“They understand that desire to make sure people feel safe — and a lot of times it’s about visibility,” Keary said.

The Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act requires state universities to allow the lawful carry of concealed handguns on their campuses, beginning July 1. In order to prohibit guns from buildings, the law says buildings must be equipped with adequate security measures to ensure no guns get in.

No KU building will be equipped with permanent adequate security measures, Keary said. However, the department purchased the four portable walk-through metal detectors that may be set up on a temporary basis to keep guns out of certain events.

Separately, KU Athletics is planning to deploy metal detectors to keep guns out of men’s basketball and football games. KU Athletics is funding its own security measures to the tune of roughly $1 million.

“We need the ability to set up adequate security measures as needed, and I don’t want to rely on whatever KU Athletics is doing,” Keary said.

The four metal detectors, accessories and a trailer to transport them cost approximately $14,000, Keary said. He said the equipment just arrived last week.

The three additional police officers will cost roughly $140,000. The three security officers will add roughly another $80,000. Uniforming and equipping the officers will add more than $30,000.

In addition to the three new police officer positions, an existing police administrator position was converted to a patrol officer position last summer, Keary said.

Keary said the hiring process has already begun. Depending on a number of factors, officers could be on the ground sometime in the next few months.

Keary took a number of questions Wednesday during a campus carry informational session, planned by the Office of the Provost, in Budig Hall.

Among other things, he told attendees that KU police officers would respond to and investigate any reports of people possibly breaking the law or campus policy regarding concealed carry. He also said he hoped seeing additional officers on campus would help put students and employees at ease in the face of the new law.