As a high-energy member of the Kansas City Police Department for five years, Malcolm Whitelaw utilizes his creative gifts in video production to uniquely make an impact both at work and in the community.
A Kansas City native, Whitelaw was entering his senior year at Raytown High School and trying to figure out his next steps in life when a friend challenged him to join the football team. He decided to give it a shot under one condition: he would give it everything he had. That decision resulted in a full-ride scholarship to play football at the University of Central Missouri, where he would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree and become the first person in his family to graduate from college.
After graduating, Whitelaw started his law enforcement career with the Raytown Police Department before joining KCPD. He spent his first four years at KCPD as a beat patrolman in the Metro Patrol Division and East Patrol Division.
“I realized it was an opportunity to be the difference,” Whitelaw said. “You can’t complain about what the community doesn’t have if you aren’t willing to do anything about it. I realized law enforcement could be the perfect opportunity to combine my life experiences with my desire for helping others. I figured, ‘what better way to do that than through joining the police department?’ So, that’s what I decided to do.”
Whitelaw’s time on patrol provided him a direct avenue to connect with people in the community and build positive relationships. He remains adamant about finding ways to reach people beyond the call of service.
When a position in the department’s media unit became available last year, Whitelaw seized a golden opportunity. He pitched the idea of using promotional videos and social media to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. After landing the assignment, he started buying cameras and equipment, determined to prove this approach could be very effective.
Over the past year, Whitelaw has grown the department’s YouTube channel to 2,200 new subscribers. The team’s media efforts have been featured in multiple articles and the overall response has been overwhelming.
“I just wanted to show people that it is possible to have great relationships between law enforcement and the community,” said Whitelaw. “I wanted to show the human side of us and who we are, while also showcasing things that are going on in the community. We’re stronger together than we are apart. I feel blessed to be in this unique position, opening up the dialogue and being able to make an impact.”
In addition to his work at the police department, Whitelaw remains active in the community. He has enjoyed spending time as a mentor for Kansas City Public Schools and teaching classes for elementary students with the Junior Achievement USA program.
Family has always been extremely important to Whitelaw. His mother, Carolyn Whitney, created Sisters in Christ, a non-profit organization helping women overcome challenging life circumstances. The organization provides a safe place to live along with a variety of services to help the women get back on their feet with a fresh start.
Whitelaw used his video production prowess to shoot and produce a video for the women, which led to them winning the Chick-fil-A True Inspiration Award. He and his three brothers use their individual gifts to help their mother’s organization in unique ways.
Whitelaw credits the man he is today to his oldest brother, Marcus.
“He really showed me what consistent love looks like,” said Whitelaw. “For me, he’s the reason I can continue to push the envelope, take on new opportunities and be able to help other people because I’ve always been able to lean on him. Seeing how he took care of our family and how he took care of others, it’s like teaching the definition of altruism. Always put yourself behind the good of others and make sure you care for those around you.”
For his devoted service to the Kansas City community, Whitelaw will be recognized this Friday, June 10 at Kauffman Stadium as a “Blue KC Hometown Hero,” an honor bestowed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and the Royals.