Experienced public safety officer joins WUPD


Courtesy of Capt. Anguiano

Back on duty: Captain James Anguiano smiles for a picture near the front door of the Washburn University Police Department. Anguiano joined WUPD in 2021 after working for KU’s Public Safety Office for thirty years.

Every morning when Captain James Anguiano gets ready in the mirror, he reflects on what he can do to make a difference in the day.

“Some look at this as a profession. James views it as an investment in the community,” said Detective Todd W. Carpenter, Anguiano’s former colleague at KU’s Public Safety Office.

As a native of Topeka, James only planned to work at KU for a short time, and afterwards he would join his brother at the Topeka Police Department.

But instead he stayed for thirty years.

“That’s the thing about law enforcement, you find a fit for you,” Anguiano said.

Capt. Anguiano explained that one great thing about campus law enforcement for new officers is that campuses are like their own city. Officers can learn to take command of a jurisdiction on an incremental scale.

“Once I got into campus law enforcement, I really enjoyed the environment. I always look at us as part of the teaching mechanism of the school. We’re here to keep people safe. And we’re also here to have people follow the rules. But we have a little bit more discretion on how we’re going to do that,” Anguiano said.

Detective Carpenter, who has known Capt. Anguiano for 17 years recounted what James said when a mentor retired and James was appointed to that role.

“James said I don’t want to fill somebody’s shoes. I want to set my shoes beside them and learn what I can to lead forward,’” Carpenter said.

Especially because Capt. Anguiano is also a grandfather.

“When I go home, when I leave here, I’m just another citizen of Topeka. So, I face the same tribulations that a citizen does every day. I’ve got grandchildren, nieces and nephews. So, I’m very aware and look at the things that go on in today’s society. And how does everybody go home safe at night,” Anguiano said.

Besides KU, Anguiano also worked with the State Capitol Police, which was his first law enforcement job.

“I’ll keep doing this as long as I’m healthy and happy. I’m happy to pass on my 30 plus years of experience to officers in a different setting,” Anguiano said.

That expertise includes high profile criminal cases within the KU men’s basketball team and the visit of a sitting president, when President Obama spoke on the Lawrence campus in 2015.

“I was on a team that did preparation for President Obama to come and visit the University of Kansas. And that was a big highlight of my career,” Anguiano said.

Anguiano assumed his office of Captain at the Washburn University Police Department in the summer of 2021.

Edited by: Katrina Johnson, Simran Shrestha