Have questions about applying or working for KDPS? Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions are posted below. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to our hiring team. We're happy to clarify any aspects of the hiring process, discuss careers in public safety, or answer any other questions that you may have. Text "JoinKDPS" to (269) 291-0199 to connect with a recruiter.

How is being a Public Safety Officer different from being just a police officer or firefighter?

Public Safety Officers are cross-trained as police officers, firefighters, and medical first responders. During their shift, PSOs have the opportunity to respond to calls for service in all three disciplines, making each shift truly different and unique. Being cross-trained allows PSOs to provide advanced public safety services to the community without delay, which helps reduce response times to critical incidents and save lives.

What are the age requirements for PSO applicants?

Applicants must be 21 years old at the completion of the police academy to work for KDPS.

Does KDPS have any programs for candidates who aren’t old enough to apply?

Yes, KDPS has a robust Explorer program which allows for career exploration and provides community engagement opportunities for those ages 14-21. More information about the Explorer program can be found at https://www.kalamazoopublicsafety.org/Community/Explorer-Post-265.

How long does the hiring process usually take?

The hiring process will take approximately 3-5 months depending on whether you qualify as a lateral transfer applicant.

How can I prepare for the hiring process?

Interested applicants can prepare for the hiring process in many ways.

As an out-of-state applicant, how many trips will I need to make to Kalamazoo during the hiring process?

Out-of-state applicants will have to make approximately 3-4 trips to Kalamazoo during the hiring process. With proper notice, accommodations may be made to lessen this requirement.

Is it possible to do a ride-along with a KDPS officer?

Yes. Ride-alongs give interested applicants an opportunity to experience a shift in the life of a KDPS officer. This is one of the best ways to learn if KDPS is right for you. Prospective applicants are encouraged to conduct a ride-along prior to applying, if possible. Once involved in the hiring process, all PSO applicants will complete a ride-along. 

Request a Ride-Along

What should I wear for my interview and/or ride-along?

You should dress in a suit or business attire for all interviews and meetings with KDPS staff. Wearing hoodies, jeans, cut-off shirts, shorts, torn or faded clothing, gym attire, flip flops, etc. does not display the professional appearance we look for in our applicants. Athletic attire should only be worn to MCOLES agility testing as this is when the physical fitness test is conducted.

Does KDPS have a policy on tattoos?

Yes, PSOs may have tattoos except for on the face or neck. The content of tattoos cannot be unprofessional or offensive in nature. Some examples of unacceptable content are those that exhibit discrimination against protected classes, those that exhibit gang, supremacist, or extremist group affiliation, or those that promote drug use, sexually explicit acts, or other obscene material.

Can I have facial hair?

Yes, but with restrictions due to firefighting requirements. Sideburns and mustaches are allowed; however, beards and goatees are not.

If I am hired and sponsored through the police academy, do I have to live at the Academy?

No. Recruits do not live at the police academy. Police academy hours are typically Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. On occasion, evening or weekend hours are required. KDPS will pay for the entire police academy, as well as an employee’s hourly wages. Any hours over the 42-hour work week will be compensated at an overtime rate.

Do I have to cross-train in all three disciplines? If so, how long is the training?

All PSOs must be cross-trained as police officers, firefighters, and medical first responders. Training in all three disciplines, to include field training, takes approximately one year from the date of hire. KDPS will pay for any required training for new hires, including the police academy.

When can I advance or join a specialty unit?

Officers can apply for specialty units such as the K9 team, SWAT team, CPO Unit, and Aviation Unit once off probation (approximately 1 year after employment). Certain career advancement positions such as being a detective or command officer require 3-5 years of experience before you can apply.

What hours or shifts will I work?

PSOs work a 42-hour work week. PSOs assigned to patrol typically work 12-hour shifts, 14 days a month. Dayshift hours are 7am-7pm, nightshift hours are 7pm-7am, and powershift hours are 3pm-3am. PSOs assigned to fire apparatus typically work 24-hour shifts, 10 days a month.

What will I get paid?

Wages depend on prior police/firefighting experience and applicable training. Non-certified recruits start on the Police Officer I wage scale in the KPSOA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) contract. Once fully cross-trained in police, fire, and EMS disciplines, recruits move to the Public Safety Officer I wage scale in the CBA. Once off probation (approximately 1 year from hire), recruits move to the Public Safety Officer II wage scale in the CBA. The 2022-2026 KPSOA CBA can be found at https://www.kalamazoocity.org/Government/Departments/Human-Resources/Policies-Benefits-and-Contracts

Is overtime available once I’m trained?

There are overtime opportunities year-round to cover shift vacancies and special events such as parades, concerts, and races.

Do Lateral Transfers from out-of-state need to complete the police academy again?

No, if they meet MCOLES requirements for reciprocity. Out-of-state officers who qualify for the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) Recognition of Prior Training and Experience (RPTE) program will not have to complete a police academy. Instead, officers can complete a short reciprocal program to receive their MCOLES licensure. KDPS will pay for the RPTE program if hired. Interested applicants can verify their eligibility at https://www.michigan.gov/mcoles/standard-training/waiver.

What will happen if I omit important information or am found to be deceptive in the hiring process regarding my background history?

Honesty and integrity are important values found in KDPS officers. If you intentionally omit important information or are found to be deceptive at any point throughout the hiring process, you will be disqualified.

What are some additional reasons I might be disqualified from the hiring process?

Applicants may be removed from the hiring process at any time. Some examples on why you might be disqualified are:

Will past criminal convictions disqualify me?

Possibly. All recruits must meet Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) licensing requirements. MCOLES prohibits licensure for applicants with specific convictions, regardless if the conviction occurred as a juvenile or adult. A complete list of prohibited convictions can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/mcoles/standard-training/licensing-standards-for-michigan-law-enforcement-officers under the “Prohibited Criminal Adjudications of Guilt” section.

Is past drug use an automatic disqualifier?

Most past drug use is not an automatic disqualifier. Disqualification timeframes depend on many factors including the substance used, age at the time of use, and frequency of use.

Can I use marijuana since it’s legal in Michigan?

No. KDPS is a marijuana-free employer. Any marijuana use during the hiring process will result in removal from the process. Any marijuana use during employment will result in discipline up to and including termination. KDPS conducts a pre-employment drug screen, as well as random monthly drug screenings once employed.

Will I be notified if I am disqualified from the process?

Yes, at each step of the process you will be sent an email from Human Resources which will tell you if you are going to move on to the next step or if you have been disqualified. If you don’t see this email in your inbox, please check your spam and junk boxes. If you still have not been contacted, please email our Hiring Team at kdpshiring@kalamazoocity.org.

If I was disqualified from the hiring process, how long must I wait before I can reapply?

If you are disqualified, you must wait until the next open hiring process to reapply, unless you were previously notified by Human Resources of an application ban. Disqualified applicants must start the entire hiring process over.

Does KDPS offer internship opportunities?

Yes, KDPS hosts several interns each year who are interested in public safety, forensic science, computerized crime analysis, and more. Internships allow students to get valuable hands-on experience within the career field. Those interested in a KDPS internship must be a high school senior or college junior or senior and be referred to KDPS by their program coordinator. Those interested in a KDPS internship should text “JoinKDPS” to 269.291.0199 and answer the questions for “Unpaid Intern”.