Monday, July 26, 2010

Longest-retired officer reconnects with KCPD

Last month, current KCPD officers came across 91-year-old Frank Schump (Officer Terry Owens is on the left, and Reserve Sergeant Mike Coughlin is on the right). Schump is month short of being the oldest living KCPD law enforcement retiree still alive, but he does have the distinction of being the longest-retired officer still alive. Frank left the department in 1972. Here's the story of how he got back in touch with KCPD almost 40 years after he retired from our Informant newsletter:

A recent burglary in Frank Schump’s neighborhood brought Officer Terry Owens to his door. Officer Owens of the Metro Patrol Division was canvassing the area asking neighbors if they’d seen or heard anything. Schump hadn’t seen anything related to the burglary, but he pointed out to Officer Owens that he had retired from the Kansas City Police Department.

As the two got to talking, Officer Owens realized Frank Schump was pretty special. He turned out to be the longest-retired KCPD officer still alive. Schump retired in 1972 after a 27-year career on the Department. He’s now 91 years old. Officer Owens contacted Reserve Sergeant Mike Coughlin because Reserve Sergeant Coughlin’s late father, Charles Coughlin, retired from KCPD as a deputy chief in 1978 and had worked with Frank Schump. With a brand new police station to call home, Officer Owens and Reserve Sergeant Coughlin decided it was time to re-introduce Schump, who retired as a Detective Sergeant, to the KCPD.

On June 29, Owens and Coughlin took Schump on a tour of the Kansas City Regional Police Academy and the new Metro Patrol Division station. Asked to compare them to the old KCPD facilities in which he used to work, Schump said, “There’s no comparison.”

Schump started working at KCPD in 1942 as a traffic officer on a motorcycle. He left in 1943 to serve in the United States Marine Corps in World War II in the Pacific Arena. At the Academy, he saw a photo of himself along with several hundred other police officers who returned to KCPD from the War pictured in the Kansas City Star in 1945. He came back to Traffic for a while and then moved to the Detective Bureau’s Burglary Unit about the time Clarence Kelley became Chief. Schump and Kelley grew up down the street from each other near 25th and Brooklyn.

Schump said one of his biggest cases in the Burglary Unit was when detectives broke up a sewing machine theft ring and recovered $150,000 worth of Singers stolen from area businesses. After Burglary, he worked in the prosecutor’s office and was tasked with making sure officers showed up to court. When he retired in 1972, he went back to work at the state probation office.

“I was still a young man,” he said.

He spent another 10 years there working on a bond program that gave higher bonds to more serious offenders before retiring a second time in 1982.

These days, Retired Detective Sergeant Schump enjoys spending time with his wife of 70 years and keeping in touch with his children and grandchildren. And thanks to the officer that showed up at his door one summer night looking for a burglar, he also enjoyed his visit to see the latest and greatest KCPD has to offer.

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