As the Major at South Patrol Division, James Buck has the community squarely in his focus.
A moment in 2020, amid COVID and protests for police reform, sticks with Buck when he was a captain, and he’d like it to cling to his officers too.
“It was a rough day, and I was at Five Guys,” Buck recalled. “I don’t know if it was the look on my face, but one of the employees from behind the counter came over and just started talking to me. The community wants us out there and wants to talk to us, and I encourage my officers to listen.”
All his life, Buck could watch and learn. His father, Dennis, joined KCPD in 1973 and eventually became a Deputy Chief. Still, Buck was unsure what he would be until he turned 18. He wanted to make an impact, but did he want to continue the family sacrifice that goes along with the public service of law enforcement?
“You reach the point that those things (sacrifices) aren’t nearly as important as what you’re getting out of what you really want to do.”
As soon as he was old enough, Buck became a regular going on ride-alongs on weekends. It’s no surprise then that his heart and passion are in patrol, his favorite part of his KCPD career. In patrol, Buck could be out and about with the community and with peers.
In 2002, Buck earned a promotion to sergeant and began honing his leadership skills.
“It’s often referred to as the best rank in the department,” Buck said. “As a sergeant, you’re there with the officers. You’re going to their weddings. It’s the work-home relationship with everyone. That’s the rank where you have the most influence.”
As a major, however, Buck has the influence and responsibility to enhance safety and quality of life for those in South Patrol’s boundaries. He fully understands it’s an active community, businesses included, that will voice itself, and he’s happy to be there for them.
Buck knows South Patrol’s community well. He was captain there before being promoted to major in January of 2022.
“I’m passionate about the people,” Buck said. “It’s what everything is about, the interactions and relationships. It’s humbling and kind to hear when I got promoted from captain to major, how many people in the community said they were glad I was staying here.”