Over the years, Derby resident Ken Mulanax’s involvement with the police department has expanded – beginning when he served on the city council more than a decade ago.
“When we built the new police and courts building, I was appointed by then-mayor Richard Standrich as sort of a liaison between the council and police and fire,” Mulanax said.
From that point on, Mulanax has offered up his assistance as a community member in various facets, which led him to recently be named the Derby Police Department’s 2019 Volunteer of the Year.
Community efforts for Mulanax have included participating in the citizen’s police academy (something he went on to encourage his wife to do), helping with the department’s strategic planning efforts, and currently representing Derby and its police department on the governing board of the Wichita Area Crime Stoppers – a position Derby Police Chief Robert Lee recruited him to upon the disbanding of the Derby Crime Stoppers unit.
Regarding strategic planning, Mulanax noted Chief Lee has routinely recruited citizens to give their input on the needs of the community (i.e., more neighborhood watches, local business involvement, etc.).
Meanwhile, the Wichita Area Crime Stoppers board meets monthly, with representatives from the various Sedgwick County communities reporting possible crimes and perpetrators. Mulanax noted 10-15 cases are typically reviewed at each meeting, with the board then making recommendations for possible rewards (which have to be fundraised by the nonprofit) for information tied to said cases.
Additionally, Mulanax served on the committee that interviewed the four finalists for deputy police chief (before hiring Brandon Russell) and he was also interviewed as part of the Derby PD’s recent Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies approval. While his role was smaller than that of the local officers leading those efforts, Mulanax noted he was proud to be part of the accreditation process, among other community endeavors.
“I just volunteer my time trying to make the community better,” Mulanax said.
On top of his work with the police department, Mulanax has also volunteered his time with the Derby Public Library, Derby Recreation Commission, Derby Community Foundation and more.
For Mulanax, a native of Abilene who moved to Derby in 1977, he noted his father played a big part in his community involvement.
“He said, ‘if the community’s good to you, be good to the community.’ He volunteered his time; my mom volunteered. That just sort of instilled that in me,” Mulanax said. “Derby’s been good to me and I’ve tried to be good to it.”
Passing on that idea, Mulanax encouraged others to get involved in some way – whether helping at a local food pantry, in their church or among other community organizations. Those efforts are something he promised will bear fruit.
“Be willing to give of yourself to help make things within the community better,” Mulanax said, “…that is rewarding in itself.”