Kansas City, Kansas, police officer Jonathon Westbrook was selected by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the Chiefs as the Blue KC Chiefs Kingdom Champion for the August 31, 2017, game against the Tennessee Titans. Officer Westbrook conducted the ceremonial first pass to [Chiefs Rep] and was recognized on the field prior to kickoff.
In addition to his work on the KCK Police force, Officer Westbrook serves as the coordinator of KCK's chapter of the Our Kids (OK) Program—a national program that brings together local police officers, school districts and the faith-based community with the goal of transforming lives and empowering African-American men and boys to improve their communities. As coordinator, Officer Westbrook runs bi-weekly KIC'IT sessions (Kids Interacting, Communicating Immix Teammates) that connect OK boys and a team of African-American adult male mentors. He also makes daily visits to the high school and middle school of his OK Program boys—Coronado Middle School and F.L. Schlagle High School—to interact with students and give them positive encounters with law enforcement.
"There are many young men who have the skills to be successful but aren't sure how to channel them into action," said Westbrook, who has been the OK Program coordinator for two years. "I've never liked seeing individuals in my community going without. And I enjoy seeing others find themselves walking the path that was created for them and the joy they get from fulfilling their purpose."
Westbrook takes his role in the OK Program seriously and with commitment. Through his daily visits to schools, he assists the OK Program students in dealing with daily issues such as conflict management and academic challenges and interacts with them and the other students in a non-intimidating manner. He visits his students' homes and remains in contact with their parents or guardians, and he takes the boys on field trips and outings that expand their worldview.
"Officer Westbrook is not your typical young man," said Pastor Adrion Roberson, a 2016 Blue KC Chiefs Kingdom Champion and the one who nominated Westbrook for the honor this season. "Because of him, many of our at-risk young men and their families see and experience a glimmer of hope. In Officer Westbrook they not only see a badge; they not only see a man in a police uniform; they not only see the officer's car; they experience a human being who is the best man he can be—all for their sakes. This is why our community is a better place to live, work and play. We're better off because God placed Officer Jonathon Westbrook here in our lives."
One of the main pieces of advice Westbrook tries to give the young men in the OK Program is that "it's OK to fail, but not to stay there." He also encourages them to let their actions be their voice and to pursue their goals with determination and passion.
"There are very few barriers that young people have to face in our community," said Westbrook, who, with his wife Ramica, has five children. "With access to education and training, if they want something, all they have to do is pursue it."
Westbrook's impact on the students at each of his schools has been so significant that principals from other area schools have called the KCK Police Department in an effort to secure an Officer Westbrook of their own.
"There are things that he has and is accomplishing that go beyond words in the lives of these young men," said Roberson. "His ability to develop relationships with the young men and their parents and families is uncanny. We have seen young men who had very destructive anger issues turn their lives around and to receive outstanding student of the year awards. Officer Westbrook's impact is just incredible."
Before each home game this season, Blue KC and the Chiefs are honoring individuals who make Kansas City a better place to live, work and play. Fans can submit nominations online at chiefs.com/bluekc.