New WKU police officer is alum, former soccer player

Melissa Bailey was hired by WKU Police in October of 2018 and her first day in uniform was Oct. 15.

Spencer Harsh

The WKU Police Department recently hired its sixth female police officer in nearly 15 years in a step toward the department’s goal to diversify itself. 

Melissa Bailey, a Bowling Green native, joined WKUPD after a two-year hiatus she took after working with the Bowling Green Police Department for nearly 10 years. Bailey said her start date was Oct. 1, but the last several weeks have been focused around training and orientation for her new position. 

“We for some time now have wanted to see more women in law enforcement,” WKUPD Public Information Officer Tim Gray said. “There’s a certain finesse that women bring to law enforcement that is much needed.”

Bailey is already familiar with WKU and graduated with a bachelor’s in exercise science in 2005. She was also a member of the Lady Hilltopper soccer team from 2001 to 2004. Bailey started working with BGPD in 2006 following her graduation. 

Bailey said in an email she has completed three classes with the Department of Criminal Justice in Richmond to update her certification as a police officer, and she will be in training for 16 weeks working side-by-side with training officers as she becomes acquainted with the department.

“I chose to further my career with WKU because I kept hearing about the great things Chief Walker was doing with this department,” Bailey said. “The family-oriented environment, the leadership and flexibility made a huge impact on my decision to become a part of the WKU family.”

Gray said he’s excited to have her in the department for multiple reasons, one of which is that he knows she’s an advocate for pushing young people to chase their dreams. She previously worked as a forensics investigator for child cases and as a detective. 

In September 2017, the Herald reported on the naming of then new chief of police Mitchell Walker, who emphasized student involvement with WKUPD and overall improvement of WKUPD’s officers.

“I look forward to furthering my career as a police officer,” Bailey said, “and building meaningful relationships to better serve the students, faculty and staff here at WKU.”

Reporter Spencer Harsh can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].