Specialized Units

Our Police Department is made up of over 17 unique law enforcement units that were constructed to serve very specific needs required from within the University of Kentucky community. These units are comprised of explosive detection canines, motorcycle patrol, dignitary protection, flex platoon and an honor guard. Officers that are assigned to these units are generally selected through an application process or at the direction of the Chief of Police. All specialized units at the University of Kentucky Police Department are part-time assignments, as the majority of police officers have primary duties as patrol officers.

K-9 Unit

The University of Kentucky Police Department K-9 unit was established in 2004 and is under the direction of Police Operations. Currently there are five canine teams at the police department. Three canines are for explosive detection and are dual trained for tracking and evidence recovery. There are two critical response canine teams for response and comfort during critical incidents. All canines are non-aggressive and work hand-in-hand with University of Kentucky sporting events, dignitary protection as well as assisting outside agencies when help is needed. All canine teams have participated in numerous community service outreach programs that range from demonstrations in several fraternity/sorority and residence housing as well as numerous local elementary and middle schools around central Kentucky.

Lieutenant R. Johnson and K-9 Junior

K-9 Junior and Lieutenant Ryan Johnson have been working together since 2015 and received a national certification with the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). K-9 Junior is a nonaggressive yellow Labrador from Winchester, Kentucky. K-9 Junior is on a play reward system and assigned for explosive detection and tracking.  The K-9 team of Junior and Lieutenant Johnson are utilized for campus sporting events, dignitary visits, and on-call for the University of Kentucky Police Department. K-9 Junior and Lt. Johnson have worked several details for the University of Kentucky and other law enforcement agencies. 

Officer Culver and Critical Response K-9 Hudson

Critical Response K-9 Hudson and Officer Michael Culver have been working together since 2019 and have completed an advanced obedience course through Sit Means Sit as well as the Franklin County Sheriff Department's Therapy K-9 course. Therapy K-9 Hudson is a non-aggressive yellow Labrador Retriever and is on a play reward system. The Therapy K-9 team of Hudson and Officer Culver encourages interactions with members of the community while on duty. They are a resource to the University of Kentucky community and aid in creating positive encounters with law enforcement in addition to providing outreach efforts and emotional support during on campus critical incidents. 

Motorcycle Unit

Motorcycle Unit, established in 2004, serves a variety of functions for the campus and community.  The primary responsibility is that of traffic enforcement and traffic safety surveys in the campus area.  The motorcycles are highly maneuverable and can respond to emergency calls in areas where a car cannot.


Motor Unit performs escort duties for funeral services, parades, and other special operations on campus such as Athletics events where the unit takes a prominent position to proudly lead the team into the stadium.  The unit takes pride in representing the department at charity functions, visits to schools, and at community affairs events to interact with all ages of the community.

Dignitary Protection Team

The Dignitary Protection Team's goal is to afford professional protective, assessment and logistical services to visiting public figures and University executives.  Additionally, when requested, the team coordinates with other agencies to provide mutual support for protection of public figures.  Dignitary Protection Team members receive their baseline training from the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Services training in Washington D.C.  As part of their ongoing professional development, the Dignitary officers have attended the Kentucky State Police dignitary protection course, and the Ohio Peace Officers Academy.

The University’s Dignitary Protection Team serves as liaison with many Federal and State level agencies in the planning and protection of high profile public figures to the University.  Such as, U.S. and Foreign Heads of State, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and Former Prime Ministers from Africa and Israel.  In addition, the Dignitary Protection Team is permanently assigned, and has the sole responsibility, for the security of UK’s Board of Trustees, and UK’s Office of the President.

Honor Guard

The Honor Guard Team represents the department by honoring the colors, the nation and fallen Public Service Heroes. This is a task that the team is proud to do and does not take lightly. The University of Kentucky Police Honor Guard was formed in 2011. All team members understand the importance to detail and the pride and honor that the team represents.


The Honor Guard Team presented colors at several events including the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), SEC Chief’s Conference, Honor Guard Gala and numerous sporting events. The Honor Guard Team participated in ceremonies to honor fallen officers from around Kentucky and the surrounding states including National Police Week in Washington, D.C.