Person of Interest: Kelli Bailiff
Lt. Kelli Bailiff of the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office has been recognized numerous times locally
and nationally for her work with missing and victimized children. Bailiff is the on-air host of Child Search,
which airs on KMBC-TV Channel 9 news, and is known throughout the community as a child-safety
expert. She recently was presented with a 2014 Hendricks Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award and was
presented the 2013 Law Enforcement of the Year Award from the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children and the Department of Justice.
435 Magazine: What keeps you up at night?
Kelli Bailiff: Many nights my mind won't stop. Personally, I worry about my sons and their families. I
worry about the world today and what life will be like for them. I worry about my kids and grandkids
driving. So much road rage, drunk driving and texting. Professionally, I think of the missing child cases I
am working and thinking of their families, especially around the holidays. I keep going over and over in
my mind what leads I could be missing and what else I can do to bring them home.
435: What is the last book you read?
KB: I recently graduated from the Law Enforcement Leadership Academy, where I was given the
book, “Strengths Based Leadership” by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. I am striving to be a more effective
leader, as I want to mentor those who will follow in my footsteps.
435: Where is the last place you went out to dinner?
KB: Jack Stack BBQ and it was wonderful! The ribs and cheesy corn were awesome!
435: Tell us a little about your family and background.
KB: I was born and raised in St. Louis. I received a college scholarship to Columbia College in
Columbia, Mo., after winning the St. Louis Junior Miss pageant. I originally went to college for fashion
merchandising. I volunteered for a fire department as an EMT and I immediately changed my mind and
thought being a police officer with EMT skills would be exciting. I have a bachelor’s degree in
management and human relations. I am currently single. I have two grown sons. My oldest son is the
father of my three wonderful grandchildren. He is in sales. My youngest son is a Kansas State Trooper.
He is stationed here in Kansas City. It is so strange to hear him on the radio, being dispatched to calls
and seeing him on the roadside working. It worries me to death, but it's in his blood I guess.
435: What makes you cry?
KB: Thinking of my parents being gone and not being able to see and talk to them anymore. Not
being able to pick up the phone and ask their advice. No longer seeing their smiles when they hug my
kids and grandkids. I am crying as I answer this.
435: What brings you the most happiness?
KB: This is really two-pronged and I think it makes me a whole person. I am so blessed that my two
sons have grown to be successful, self-sufficient, strong, kind and caring men. Knowing that, it allows me to give more of myself to my career I love so much. I live each day thinking of my children and then
trying my best to bring home the children of the families that are still among the missing.
435: In your line of work, what makes the KC metro unique?
KB: There is never a dull moment. There are times when the state line draws a line for us when it
comes to different laws for different states. I am currently working on some legislation that will make
laws for missing and exploited children a nationwide initiative so that every cop in every state is on the
same page. Both sides of the states work great together, so that helps.
435: What is your greatest accomplishment?
KB: Having the honor of being able to help and be there for my parents when they were both ill. My
father's passing was fairly sudden, but I was blessed to be able to move my mother here to Kansas City
and be her caregiver during her final years. My last words to my father were that I would take care of
my mother and my last words to my mother were it was okay to go be with Poppy. I was able to hold
both of them as they passed. Another great accomplishment is that I was chosen a few years ago as
America's Top Mom by a national magazine. To live my life as a caring daughter and a loving mother has
been, and will continue to be, my goal. So far, living my life this way has been a total blessing!