Bo Jackson was in Royal blue, smashing a 450-foot home run at the All-Star game right about the time Ouida Cutchlow started working at KCPD.
It was the summer of 1989.
Cutchlow had been working at a door company because shortly after high school, her mother told her to find a job or go to college. Someone at the door company knew someone at the police department, and before she knew it, Cutchlow was sitting before an interview panel at headquarters answering questions.
“I used to go to Crown Center, and one day when I was 18 or 19, I took a taxi,” Cutchlow recalled. “I had the taxi driver stop me in front of the police department because I needed change. They gave it to me, but I had no clue I’d one day work there.”
That’s an understatement. She’s been at KCPD 33 years and counting.
Her first position was a records clerk. Back then, headquarters was open 24 hours a day, 7 days week. Cutchlow would take reports, release vehicles, and work the warrant service desk. After 10 years, she transferred to the Alarm Office, helping residents and businesses register their alarm systems.
When a supervisor role in criminal records opened up nearly 20 years ago, Cutchlow prayed about it and took a leap of faith. She would become one of the first civilians in the department to take over a position formerly held by a law enforcement officer.
As supervisor, Cutchlow oversees a team which is responsible for valuable KCPD assets, its records. They include court-ordered subpoenas, Sunshine Law requests, orders of protection, the entry of state warrants, and the entry of the repossession of vehicles. Due to the nature of many documents, Cutchlow and team work heavily with the Office of General Counsel.
“Leading a team of 16 people is challenging; anyone who has actually done it knows,” said Captain Michelle Hon of the Information Management Unit. “Ouida not only does it, but she does it with a deep love for her staff. I know very few people who have interacted with the public every single day as long as she has, who walk into my office every morning with a smile.”
“It’s my choice,” Cutchlow said. “I have a choice to come in. I don’t have a bad day. I might have bad times in the day, but it’s your choice.”
Interacting with the public for as long as she has, Cutchlow always falls back on respect. People, she says, are always deserving of it.
Recently, police recruits waiting to enter the police academy assisted the records departments. Her advice to them?
“No matter what position you’re in, never forget your humanity” Cutchlow told them. “A loss of humanity is what gets people in trouble in life. Maintain your humanity. That’s the simplest way.”