Retiree Spotlight - Melvin Bockelman

Melvin Bockelman was recently celebrated by the Kansas City Police Department. Last year in September, the KCPD honored 50 years of innovation of the computer system that would become the lifeblood of the department. The designer of that system 50 years ago was Mr. Bockelman. The computer system implemented in Kansas City was revolutionary at the time, and is considered one the United States' most advanced computer-based information systems.

Mr. Bockelman was the manager of the computer systems division under the leadership of Chief Clarence Kelly of KCPD. Together, these two pioneers developed the system to make Kansas City a safer place for its citizens and the officers in the field. After he retired Mr. Bockelman went to work for LAGERS employer Lafayette County, where he implemented a similar system there.

The system was called Alert 1, short for Automated Law Enforcement Response Team 1. A former member of the Air Force as a computer systems manager, Mr. Bockelman used his skills in this emerging field to create this “thinking machine” to perform crime rate analysis and crime record searching at the same time. People came from all over the country to see the new computer and learn from the department about this new technology. Mr. Bockelman also traveled the world sharing the story of ALERT 1 to other departments.

After retiring, Mr. Bockelman didn’t stop sharing his expertise. He went on to work for Lafayette County Courthouse, implementing a computer system for them.

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