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Sergeant’s Japanese Heritage Bursts With Pride

Publish Date 05/02/2023


In his late 30’s, Stephen Stroder didn’t think he’d ever become a police officer. It was too late.

But then he saw a newspaper ad one day ... “Heck, I’ll give it shot and see what happens,” Stroder told himself. He was 37, and, as it turns out, there was plenty of time to live his dream.

That was 2002, and the stay-at-home dad who helped raise three daughters went for it. Since then, Stroder has served in the KCPD’s Patrol Bureau, working in East, South, and Metro Patrol Divisions. He’s currently a sergeant at North Patrol Division.

Stroder’s mother moved to the United States from Japan in 1952, eventually landing in Kansas City and, more specifically, Brookside, where Stroder grew up. As a child, he learned some Japanese, but the influence was life-lasting.

After earning a history degree from UMKC, Stroder moved to Japan to teach English for a few years. He experienced a bona fide culture shock there, though he made friends and connected more deeply with his Japanese heritage.

The bonds are important. They’re what also give Stroder joy as an officer.

“What I’ve always liked about the job is going out and interacting with the public, meeting people, helping people solve problems,” Stroder said. “It’s a job like no other. You’re actually out there seeing things and helping.”

Despite his many years of service, there is one thing Stroder has yet to do at KCPD. It’s something he’s capable of that would intertwine his heritage to his service.

“I’ve never had to translate Japanese on patrol,” said Stroder. “That would be a first.”