Prairie Village Police Chief Wes Jordan knew he was due for a change sometime soon. After 26.5 years with the department and 7.5 leading law enforcement operations in Prairie Village and Mission Hills, he’d been asking himself recently what the second half of his career would hold.
Turns out it will hold a move down the hall, not out of the community.
On Monday, the Prairie Village City Council confirmed Jordan as its next Assistant City Administrator where he will replace the departing Kate Gunja, who has accepted a job as Assistant City Manager in Overland Park. Jordan will fill the duel roles of police chief and assistant city administrator starting March 9 until March 23, when Capt. Tim Schwartzkopf assumes the title of Interim Police Chief and the city begins the process of selecting Jordan’s permanent replacement.
Jordan joined the department in 1988 as a sworn officer and made his way up the ranks, being promoted to corporal, sergeant and then captain before succeeding Charles Grover as chief. He said he was looking for a new challenge, but hated the idea of leaving the community where he had spent so many years and had such deep ties and knowledge. When Gunja announced she was leaving, City Administrator Quinn Bennion and Mayor Laura Wassmer quickly started discussions with Jordan about the possibility of transitioning into the position.
“I prayed for guidance about my predicament,” Jordan said. “At some point the light bulb came on, and I thought, I have a lot of skills and institutional knowledge that could be useful in this role.”
Officially, Jordan will retire from the police department having maxed out his retirement benefits. But the 50 year old says he doesn’t like the word retire because he intends to keep working for a number of years. In his new role, he’ll be partially responsible for overseeing the the process surrounding proposed developments in the city, including the Meadowbrook park and residential developments, among other duties.
“It’s a little bittersweet [leaving the police department],” he said. “When you put on the uniform every day for that amount of time, it’s kind of hard to just walk away. But obviously I’m very excited about this new chapter. This is a big time in our community.”
Gunja’s last day with Prairie Village will be Friday. She joined Prairie Village in late 2013 after having served as Fairway’s City Administrator since 2008.