Kirk Thompson, Director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, has announced his upcoming retirement, effective Jan. 10, 2023.
According to a news release Thursday from Topeka, Thompson has served as KBI Director for over 11 years and has served in law enforcement for more than 46 years.
Thompson first entered law enforcement in 1976, at the age of 19, as a deputy sheriff with the Barton County Sheriff’s Office. In this role he served the central Kansas community of Great Bend where he grew up. He then moved to Topeka in 1979, after joining the KBI as a special agent.
Thompson is a graduate of Washburn University, the FBI National Academy, the Kansas Certified Pubic Manager program, and has completed numerous other law enforcement leadership programs.
Over the course of his KBI career, Thompson served in several supervisory roles, working his way up the ranks to Assistant Director and Associate Director. Then in July of 2011, Attorney General Derek Schmidt appointed Thompson as the 12th Director of the KBI.
Thompson devoted more than a decade serving in the KBI’s top post. During his tenure he enhanced every division of the Bureau.
In 2012, in partnership with the FBI, the first satellite Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in the nation was established at KBI headquarters to conduct timely analysis of digital forensic evidence. Then in 2015, the Bureau opened its Forensic Science Center, a new state-of-the art laboratory located on the campus of Washburn University. Also during his time as Director, Thompson expanded the KBI child victims unit, to include the 2018 creation of the Northeast Child Victim Task Force, a team and facility focused on investigating major crimes perpetrated against children.
In 2017, Thompson successfully advocated for additional forensic scientists to test the statewide accumulation of sexual assault kits discovered during the KBI-led Kansas Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, and to expedite future submission and testing of this valuable forensic evidence. In 2019, under Thompson, the KBI established a cyber crime unit to investigate large-scale cyber threats in Kansas.
Thompson also secured multi-million dollar funding and support for major updates to several critical criminal justice systems – the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), the Kansas Incident Based Reporting System (KIBRS), and the Kansas Criminal Justice Information System.
During his time at the KBI, Thompson served on the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, the Kansas Human Trafficking Advisory Board, the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Executive Board, the Kansas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Advisory Board, the Kansas Commission on Emergency Planning and Response, and many other boards, committees, and commissions.
Thompson was also an active member of the Kansas Sheriffs’ Association, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, the Kansas Peace Officers Association, and the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies.
“Kirk Thompson has served as an exceptional leader for the KBI,” Schmidt said. “Never drawing attention to himself, he always has insisted on the highest standards of professionalism and has moved the Bureau forward in so many quiet but critical ways. I am tremendously grateful he answered this call to service more than 11 years ago, and wish Kirk and his family well in life’s next chapter.”
Thompson said he’s proud of those he’s worked with.
“Serving as Director of the KBI has been the highpoint of my career,” he said. “I am grateful to Attorney General Schmidt for allowing me the opportunity to work with the exceptional men and women of the KBI, and alongside our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners,” said Thompson.
“I’m very proud of what this agency has accomplished over the past decade to safeguard the public, and pursue justice for victims of violent crimes. While many public safety challenges still face our state, I am absolutely certain the KBI will continue to successfully engage those challenges and strive to make Kansas a better place to live.”
Thompson began discussions about retirement several months ago, and KBI employees were formally notified of his retirement plans in early November. He agreed to serve through the end of the year.
In retirement, Thompson plans to travel with his wife, Stephanie, and spend additional time with his daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren. He also looks forward to devoting free time to volunteer opportunities and newfound hobbies.