Officer Robert Knapp retired in September from active duty after 21 years in the military and officially joined the Platte County Police Department as one of two new officers.
Knapp, though, is familiar with Platte City, serving as a reserve officer the past two years.
He was stationed at Fort Leavenworth the past four years and during that time he started looking into different agencies for reserve work.
“I can't remember who, but someone mentioned Platte City, so I came over and applied and did the whole nine yards,” Knapp said. “I worked every now and then, it wasn't steady, but whenever they needed. I got a taste for it to see how everybody was and I liked it. Toward the end, I was looking at retiring, I talked to Chief (Carl) Mitchell and he said potentially a position would open up and we could hire you on.”
Knapp, who hails from Florida originally, was a military brat growing up. His dad was in the Air Force, while his grandfather was in the Army.
“I followed both of them,” said Knapp, who originally was in the Air Force before joining the Army with a venture in the Army National Guard in between.
“There is a night and day difference, between the branches, for sure. They have some similarities with chain of command, but there is a level of discipline and order more in some branches than others.”
Knapp spent two years in the Air Force as a weapon specialist right out of high school. After that, he worked as a correction officer in Kentucky and Nebraska. While working at the Douglas County Correctional Center in suburban Omaha, Neb., he joined the National Guard. He joined the Army in 2005 and served as military policeman.
“When I joined Army National Guard, I could do a tanker or an MP and I thought what could I use on the outside. I could do something with MP.”
He went on three different tours between his stint in the National Guard and active duty Army. In the National Guard, he went to Bosnia, while his Army stint sent him to Afghanistan — from Louisiana — and Iraq, while stationed in Hawaii at the time.
Knapp, who retired out of Fort Riley, didn't have to go through police academy like some officers due to the military experience.
“The way MP are trained is almost identical to the same training cops get,” Knapp said. “MP officers are sergeant-in-arms and we got more training, we had a war fighting mission and were trained to tactically.”
Knapp and his wife are the parents of five kids, ranging from 22 to 11 years old, and have been married for 20 years. They reside in Leavenworth, Kan. He enjoys camping, going to the lake with his family and riding his motorcycle in his free time.