For as long as he can remember, Randy Hundley thought of the bus as family.
From his earliest days growing up in Charlie Parker Square on Kansas City’s east side, the bus has been almost as important as a mom or dad, a brother or sister.
It was his way to get downtown. It was his way to get school. It was his way to the mall. It was his connection to the city. “I grew up on the bus,” Hundley said.
So it only makes sense that Hundley would leave the Kansas City Police Department after nearly 30 years to join the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority as its new public safety manager.
A former deputy chief with the Kansas City Police Department, Hundley’s been with the KCATA for a couple months.
In short order, the seasoned police department veteran has been invaluable in building strong community relationships and serving as the liaison between operators, prosecutors and the court system. He’s paying big dividends in improving communications with riders, employees and the community.
He comes to the agency at a time when we’ve been intensifying our efforts to safeguard our operators and riders, most notably with the hiring of two full-time transit officers last spring.
The cop with the sweet singing voice – he sang at the National Baptist Convention last year and is a member of two church choirs – now protects a bus system that was a transportation lifeline for him and his family growing up. It’s even more meaningful since his mom worked as a KCATA bus operator for 28 years.
“I grew up in the Metro family,” Hundley said. “It exposed me to some of the things that drivers dealt with all those years.”
Randy studied business, marketing and management at Park College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Moving into law enforcement wasn’t a big leap for Randy, who was captivated with 1970s police TV dramas like Adam 12, Hawaii Five-0 and Mod Squad. In those shows, Randy saw cops passionate about helping people, a spiritual gift he shares.
“They were always helping people in crisis,” he said. “They were helping people who needed assistance. They were always there to help make things better.”
Hundley, 53, spent 29 years at the Kansas City Police Department, rising from a patrolman in the urban core to deputy chief overseeing the Administration Bureau, which includes information technology, records management and the regional crime lab.
Looking back, Hundley said he’s seen “the good, the bad and the ugly” as a cop. The ugly and the bad: He’s worked murders. He’s worked violent crimes. He’s worked traffic wrecks. The good: He’s been a mentor. He’s been counselor. He’s been a friend. He’s helped those in times of need.
“You grow up in the urban core and you see things that occur - some good, some not - and you want to to make a positive change. I hope my little contribution made a difference.”
Randy’s seen a lot as he moved up through the ranks of the Police Department, taking on just about every job but working undercover – an impossibility since he’s so well known in the community. “That would have never worked,” he said with a laugh.
“I’ve been very blessed,” Hundley said. “I’ve had a fulfilling career. I have had the opportunity to help people in a variety of ways.”
Now, he has the opportunity to help again, this time at the KCATA.
“I’m here,” he said, “to do whatever I can to make it a better place in whatever small way I can.”