Newman University alumnus Kristopher Gupilan, ’08, can’t remember ever wanting to be anything other than a police officer.
“It’s a great way to serve the community and be in a space where I can help others in need,” he said. “I have always had a heart and passion to serve.”
Beginning his path to law enforcement at Newman
To pursue his dream, Gupilan, a southern California native, chose to attend Newman University. He majored in criminal justice and spent a lot of time under the tutelage of Professor Emeritus Larry Heck and Jill Fort, a professor of criminal justice and associate vice president of academic affairs.
Gupilan also played on the men’s volleyball team and was involved in the Newman Chorale and Troubadours, through which he got to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Perhaps one of the best pieces of his Newman experience, though, was meeting his wife. The couple now has two little girls and reside in the Wichita area.
Part of the reason they chose to plant their roots in Wichita is because Gupilan has worked for the Wichita Police Department for the past decade.
“It has been a very fulfilling career,” he said. “I initially came to Kansas on my recruiting trip back in college, not knowing what to expect after living in southern California for 20 years of my life. Once I came to Wichita, I immediately fell in love with the community, the people and the city. Being able to serve Wichita for over 11 years has been everything I thought it would be and more.”
Gupilan started his career on patrol before spending time in the traffic unit. He’s now an officer within the community policing department, which has enabled him to take part in numerous projects. He was even on the team that represented the Wichita Police Department at the 2020 presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.
Gupilan reads to elementary students
A few months ago, Gupilan was awarded the KWCH Salute the Badge Award. He’s also currently the Wichita police liaison to the Wichita Asian community.
One fun recent moment from Gupilan’s service was back in December, when he and a couple other officers from the community policing department visited Buckner Elementary and read to a fifth grade class. There, he learned the class gets donut parties for good behavior.
According to a Facebook post by the Wichita Police Department, “Since we’re not ones to pass up an opportunity for good donuts, arrangements were made to be a part of their next donut party (Mr. Burden assured the expectations were high in order to get one).”
The post continued, “The kids in Mr. Burden’s class didn’t disappoint — and they earned their donut party this week! Officers Gupilan, Grindle and Stark brought some delicious donuts and spent some time hanging out with the students. Looking forward to the next one!”
A lasting impact
Gupilan thoroughly enjoys his role as a police officer for these experiences and more, and he links his ability to have such a career back to his days at Newman.
“One of the things I loved about Newman was the size and the closeness of the community on campus,” he said. “It was small enough that everyone knew everyone, and it was difficult to ‘hide’ and not be seen by staff or other students. This prepared me to serve Wichita in a sense that it is a big enough city but small enough to make an impact. Being in a city of this size, a small impact made in the community can cause huge ripples to make the community a better place.”
Earn a Criminal Justice Degree
Develop initiatives to make communities around the nation safer. The study of criminal justice at Newman University prepares students to transform society.