Major Burnell E. Davis

2008 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Burnell Davis Portrait

Sumner High School, 1966

Burnell Davis was in the fourth grade when he was entrusted with a responsibility that set him on the path toward leadership and a future in law enforcement.

He was assigned to be a safety patrolman by Paul Mobiley, principal at Douglass Elementary School.

“He reinforced to me that it was my responsibility – and my responsibility alone – to get the kids across the street safely. And I took that job very seriously,” Davis remembers.

Today, Davis serves as the director of campus officers for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. He is charged with overseeing a team of 32 law enforcement officers who work to ensure that all students and staff have a safe learning environment. His favorite part of the job is serving as a positive influence to students. Over the years, he has tutored a number of students, and spent five years as an instructor in the Junior Raven Police Cadets program.

He feels fortunate to have grown up in the KCK Public Schools where he had so many positive role models who gave him reasons to believe in himself, including William Boone at Northeast Junior High, and Tom Rhone at Sumner High School.

Davis was a state champion in track at Northeast and held the national record for the long jump. At Sumner, he was active in track, captain of the football team and junior class president.

After graduation, he attended Fort Hays State University before enlisting in the Marine Corp. He served his country proudly as a top sergeant, although an injury during combat in Vietnam nearly ended his life. He retired with the Marine Corp Reserves after 20 years of dedicated service.

Davis has a degree in criminal justice and is a graduate of the KCK Police Academy.

He is active in the Black Police Officers Association, the National Association of School Law Enforcement Officers and the Widow’s Son Masonic Lodge.