KUWomenofDistinction

2012/2013

Ellen Hanson

Ellen Hanson

Honors, achievements, and special recognition:

I am proud of my 37 years of public service to the City of Lenexa and grateful for the opportunity I have been given to participate in a number of law enforcement organizations at a State and National level. I am currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and have been appointed by the Governor’s office to serve on the Kansas Commission for Peace Officers Standards and Training.

How I became interested in my field:

While attending graduate school at KU I was involved in a counseling practicum at the state penitentiary in Lansing working with a group of inmates serving life sentences. After that experience I knew I wanted to be involved some way in the criminal justice field and police work was my first choice.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me and why:

After 21 years as Police Chief, the accomplishment that is most meaningful to me is the strong constructive department culture that I have helped create in the police department and the depth of leadership that I will leave behind. The Lenexa Police staff truly cares about our community and each other and the level of service they provide speaks to this every day.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

When I was an undergraduate in the late 60’s I was part of the Association of Women Students and was fortunate to spend a lot of small group time with Dean of Women Emily Taylor. She was very strong, independent and intelligent and she helped me define myself as a person capable of achieving whatever goal I set.

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:

Chief John Foster was the person who took a risk and hired me in 1975. I was the first female police officer in Lenexa and only the second in all of Johnson County. He did me the honor of demanding the same performance from me as from my male counterparts and actually paved the way for the direction my career has taken.

My favorite KU memory:

Pledging Gamma Phi Beta sorority and making friends that have lasted a lifetime.

An important life lesson I have learned:

Speak you mind always using tact and sensitivity, but don’t hold back.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know…

Cherish every day and make the most of it. Perform like your life’s reputation is depending on what you do that single day.

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

Trust is the bedrock of a fully functional team. You build trust with others each time your choose integrity over image, truth over convenience, or honor over personal gain. This is meaningful to me because in my role as police chief integrity must be at the forefront of everything and each decision has to be made not in the interest of any one individual but for the good of the collective whole whether it impacts the Department or the Community.