WKUPD appoints alumna as new public information officer

Melissa Bailey (right) was sworn in to the WKUPD on October 1, 2018. In attendance was WKU President Tim Caboni (left), Mitchell Walker (middle) and Bailey’s family and friends. (Source: WKU Facebook)

WKU alumna and former Lady Toppers Soccer player Melissa Bailey is now the new Public Information Officer at the Western Kentucky Police Department.

Bailey has assumed the position after 11 years of service at WKU and the Bowling Green Police Department.

“I am honored for this opportunity that Chief Walker is giving me,” Bailey said. ”It’s a big learning curve, but I am excited and I am learning. I am really enjoying the position.”

Bailey began her career at BGPD in their cadet program offered to college students who are interested in a career in law enforcement. The part time job includes the basics in policing such as speed trailer deployments. 

Her role as a cadet lasted for around a year until she graduated from WKU in 2005. She would then go on to apply as a police officer at BGPD in the same year. 

Bailey failed the written test the first time and decided to wait until testing was open again. During the wait, she was offered a job as a dispatcher where she stayed for a year.

When the police hiring process was open again, Bailey passed the written test, but failed the physical test. 

“I failed it on push-ups. I barely made it on the last one, I couldn’t lock up my elbows for the last push up and I failed,” Bailey said. 

Bailey then went on a strict work out session to prepare for the next hiring process. On her third try, she passed both tests and was hired as a police officer in May of 2006. She would then go on to work at BGPD for the next 10 years. 

During her time with BGPD, Bailey took a break and finished her teacher certification.

 “I felt like that was a better schedule and would be a better fit for my kids at the time,” Bailey said.

When former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin began discussing changes to the retirement system, Bailey said she was fortunate to be in the 20 year retirement system as a police officer, which is something she did not want to lose. 

“I had already done 10 years. I was halfway through. I started looking into going back to policing,” said Bailey. 

Bailey returned to WKUPD in October 2018 where she has stayed since.

Former PIO Tim Gray met with Bailey last week to make a list of all the responsibilities that she would have, including media coverage with WBKO, the College Heights Herald,  WNKY and BG Daily News. 

Bailey also oversees press releases for the Chief and herself, social media accounts, alert messages, press conferences and more. 

“My goal is to obviously promote the WKU Police Department, but to also get us involved in the community and to have a positive role in the community,” Bailey said.

Gabrielle Bunton can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @gabriellebunton.