Following the retirement of Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) Community Interaction Officer (CIO) Greg Smith in December, CIO Pat Byrd filled his spot in the East Patrol Division (EPD). This left Byrd’s position open. Young and energetic, Edwin Gordillo jumped at the opportunity.
Although he’s from Orange County, Ca., Gordillo appreciates the Midwest’s four seasons. After studying criminal justice for two years in California, he transferred to a small Christian college in Florida, where he studied Business Administration and met his wife, a Kansas City native.
The pair moved to Kansas City in 2014 and got married soon after. They now parent a two-year-old son who was one of Gordillo’s motivations for pursuing the CIO role. That, and being able to attend church more frequently.
“He’s crazy, so he needs order and stability, like a routine, so that was very important for me,” Gordillo said. “It gives me the weekends, it gives me a chance to go to church on Sundays.”
Although he had always wanted to be in law enforcement, before joining the police department, Gordillo worked at Hy-Vee, Quik Trip, in sales for home security systems, and at a housing nonprofit in Wyandotte County.
Gordillo said every job on his way to joining the force has contributed to his wide variety of experience and determination, which he calls on every day. And as one of six children, Gordillo learned the necessity of working hard early on.
The first time the department called on Gordillo, it was just after a sniper ambushed and killed five officers in Dallas in 2016. After discussing it with his wife, he decided to turn down the opportunity.
Six months later, his sales job was becoming draining and he began to rethink his decision. Once he got his wife on board, he reached out to KCPD to restart the process. He started the police academy in February 2018 and graduated that September. He worked the night shift for a year, then the day schedule for about a year, and feels he is now where he finally belongs.
“I’ve always wanted to do it, always want to be a community interaction officer,” Gordillo said. “I feel like I’ve got the background for it. I like chatting with people and I just think that’s a huge part of policing, you communicate with people and bridge that gap.”
Growing up, he witnessed officers serving his community by helping people, and he set out to do the same.
“To me, Jesus served and he gave it his all, and I can do the same thing, obviously in a different way,” Gordillo said. “I always portrayed officers as a good thing and they’re doing good things, and they’re here for the community so I wanted to do that, as well.”
Since he moved to the position a little over a month ago, he’s been busy getting to know the territory. While he’s been in EPD for his entire career, he’s now getting to know community leaders through virtual meetings, assisting at vaccine distributions at an area church, and tagging along with Officer Byrd on calls. A few weeks ago, they assisted with a Point in Time Count, which took a count of people experiencing homelessness to determine federal funding for local agencies and surveys them on other circumstances.