Olathe Police Chief Announces Retirement
After more than 31 years of service in the Olathe Police Department, Olathe Police Chief Steven R. Menke will retire on April 1.
Menke began his career in March of 1988 as a police officer for the City of Olathe. His distinguished career involved numerous assignments, including communications officer, patrol officer, field training officer and narcotics detective. He rose through departmental ranks leading a variety of divisions before being named Olathe Chief of Police in 2008.
During his tenure, the size and complexity of the department has changed dramatically. Under Menke’s leadership, Olathe has been consistently recognized as one of Kansas’ and America’s safest cities. In fact, the Olathe Police Department has the best major crime clearance rate of any city in the most current Benchmark Cities Annual Survey*.
Menke credits the department’s incredible success to the men and women who serve. He said, “There are not better officers and staff in the nation than in the Olathe Police Department. They truly care about our community and every person in it, and I’m leaving a great police department well positioned for the next phase of growth and exceptional performance.”
According to City Manager Michael Wilkes, Menke’s leadership has played an essential role in making the Olathe Police Department world class. He said, “Chief Menke has been a steady and proven leader who has led the Olathe Police Department to a performance level rarely seen. He is leaving an exceptional legacy, and his high standards and unquestionable integrity are evident in every aspect of the department.” He continued, “He truly cares about this community and the men and women who serve in the department. Our organization and this community will miss his service, but because of him, we are in a great position moving forward.”
Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland echoed those thoughts. He said, ““Olathe is a safer city because of Chief Menke. After rising through the ranks, he brought stability, vision and steadfast leadership to our proud police department as Chief. I thank him for his dedication to Olathe, support for his fellow officers, and faithful guidance to the Council and myself.”
Menke is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy Class 225 in Quantico, VA and is the 2018 recipient of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission and ASIS “Clarence M. Kelley Award for Excellence in Executive Law Enforcement”. During his career, Menke has been recognized with the Olathe Police Department’s “William A. Shepard Excellence in Law Enforcement” award, the KidsTLC “Protector of Children” award, the Olathe NAACP “Diversity Advocate in Law Enforcement” award, and the Olathe Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board “Organization Accessibility Award”.
*The Benchmark Cities Survey includes 30 high performing mid-sized police agencies from across the United States which compare performance measures annually.