Your Career

Public Safety Officers have a wide variety of opportunities to specialize in certain skills, seek full-time assignment as part of a specialized unit, or rise through the ranks as a command officer, detective, or other specialized position. You can be sure that your career will challenge and reward you as you follow the path that suits you best. 

Specialty Assignments

Public Safety Officers can pursue special assignments in addition to their regularly assigned duties. These assignments are accompanied by specialized training in the skills and equipment you will need to be successful. When situations arise that require these skills, you will be well positioned to respond and keep our community safe. 

Aviation Unit

Members of the Aviation Unit provide crucial support to KDPS officers from the air, utilizing specialized skills and equipment to aid in missions that require the assistance of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). This can include providing overwatch for canine tracks and critical incidents, guiding incident management decisions with real-time intelligence, and supporting community engagement initiatives.

Bike Response Unit

As a specialized unit within the Crowd Management Team, the Bike Response Unit is able to use bicycles to quickly access crowded or hard-to-reach areas, to ensure community safety. As an alternative and agile means of travel, the Bike Response Unit is used for events where the mobility of bicycles is advantageous to enhance visibility and accessibility.

Bomb Squad

As one of only eight FBI-accredited bomb squads in the State of Michigan, the KDPS Bomb Squad responds to and mitigates potential explosive threats, suspicious packages, and hazardous devices. With the primary objective to safeguard public safety by neutralizing threats posed by explosive devices, the team uses advanced technology and training to identify, assess, and safely dispose of explosive materials and devices.

Crowd Management Team

The Crowd Management Team maintains public safety and order during events, demonstrations, protests, public assemblies, and gatherings where large crowds are expected. Team members are specially trained to manage crowd behavior, de-escalate tensions, and ensure a peaceful environment by upholding the law and the constitutional rights of participants, and protecting the community.

Explorer Post #265 Advisor

KDPS Explorer Post #265 gives local youth the ability to explore careers in public safety, build self-confidence and leadership skills, and participate in community events as a representative of the agency. Explorer Post Advisors oversee the program, serve as role models, and mentor and guide participants throughout the program. Explorer Post Advisors are tasked with shaping the next generation’s commitment to public safety careers while emphasizing teamwork, professionalism, discipline, and civic responsibility.

Field Training Officer

Field Training Officers play a pivotal role in the training and mentoring of new PSOs. They provide guidance, instruction, and practical experience to recruits, ensuring they have the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful at KDPS. FTOs assess, evaluate, and provide critical feedback on a recruit’s progress and performance to develop competent and capable officers. Becoming an FTO offers a PSO the opportunity to mentor and educate PSOs who will safeguard our community in the years to come.

HazMat Team

Serving all of Kalamazoo County, HazMat Team members respond to major incidents involving hazardous substances, such as chemical spills and other hazardous material emergencies. With the primary goal to ensure the safety of the public and environment, Hazmat Team members have advanced training in assessing, containing, and mitigating hazardous material incidents.

Honor Guard

Honor Guard members serve as the ceremonial representatives for KDPS, participating in events that honor fallen officers, official ceremonies, retirements, parades, and other formal occasions. As the dignified and solemn image of the department to both the community and fellow first responders, Honor Guard members must portray the highest level of professionalism, discipline, and respect.

Hostage Negotiation Unit

As a specialized unit within the KM-SWAT Team, the Hostage Negotiation Unit is a highly trained group of multi-jurisdictional officers, specializing in crisis intervention and communication techniques. Negotiators work to peacefully and safely resolve tense situations involving hostages, barricaded subjects, and individuals in crisis. Negotiators use advanced skillsets and de-escalation techniques to build rapport and establish trust during critical incidents.

K9 Unit

With eight K9 teams, KDPS boasts one of the largest canine units in the State of Michigan. K9 Handlers are responsible for the care, training, and deployment of their assigned K9, both on-duty and off-duty. After a challenging but rewarding six week training, K9 Handlers work closely with their K9 partners on daily tasks to include patrolling, apprehension, search and rescue, narcotics detection, and community relations.

Motor Unit

The Motor Unit operates motorcycles as part of their duties; conducting patrols, traffic enforcement, and community outreach. The unit provides a versatile and agile presence in various environments by enhancing traffic safety, conducting escorts, and supporting public safety initiatives. The Motor Unit utilizes three Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorcycles made specifically for police use.

Peer Fitness Team

With advanced training in fitness and nutrition, the Peer Fitness Team plays a vital role in supporting, promoting, and maintaining the physical wellness and fitness of fellow PSOs. While fostering a culture of health and wellness within KDPS, they provide guidance, resources, and motivation to help officers maintain optimal fitness levels for a demanding profession.

Peer Support Team

The Peer Support Team provides department members and their families facing personal or work-related challenges with confidential emotional and mental health support. They can facilitate access to mental health resources, counseling services, and other support networks, as well as offer a compassionate and non-judgemental listening ear to promote mental wellness and resilience.

Pipe and Drum Team

As a specialized unit within the Honor Guard, the Pipe and Drum Team is a musical ensemble consisting of drums and bagpipes, tasked with representing KDPS at ceremonial events, public performances, and on special occasions. Their poise and professionalism fosters positive community relationships through musical outreach.

Recruitment Team

The Recruitment Team is responsible for attracting and recruiting qualified applicants to join the ranks of KDPS. They also play a pivotal role in the retention of current PSOs. The Recruitment Team specializes in techniques to make KDPS the employer of choice.

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)

The Kalamazoo Metropolitan SWAT Team (KM-SWAT) is a multi-jurisdictional unit serving Kalamazoo County. With specialized tactical expertise, SWAT team members are responsible for responding to and resolving critical incidents, such as barricaded subjects and hostage crises, and executing high-risk search warrants. Successfully mitigating these highly volatile situations requires advanced training, teamwork, and judgment.

Task Force Officer (DEA, ATF, FBI)

KDPS has dedicated Task Force Officers within the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Task Force Officers serve as a liaison between KDPS and their respective federal agencies to investigate and combat criminal activities that cross jurisdictional boundaries and those eligible for federal prosecution.

Technical Rescue Team

The Kalamazoo Technical Rescue Team specializes in high angle, confined space, structural collapse, and trench rescues. This highly specialized team maintains the utmost standards in emergency preparedness.Members use their advanced training and skills to perform complex rescue operations to save lives and ensure the safety of victims and responders. Kalamazoo Technical Rescue Team members also serve on the 5thDistrict Technical Rescue Team and Michigan USAR Task Force I.


Specialty Units & Positions

Public Safety Officers may also be assigned to a specialty unit or position full-time. This type of assignment will change the location or nature of your daily work to be more specialized or focused on a specific goal or task. 

Community Policing Unit

The Community Policing Unit serves as liaisons between KDPS and the community, fostering positive relationships and addressing neighborhood concerns. Focusing on the pillars of collaboration, education, and outreach, the team uses non-traditional policing methods to educate the community, prevent crime, reduce gun violence, and improve the quality of life for those within the community.

Community Service Team

The Community Service Team (CST) builds connections between the unhoused community, KDPS, and local service providers, in order to promote health, well-being, and safety. CST officers work collaboratively with direct service providers to develop holistic and sustainable long-term plans for unhoused community members, such as employment, housing, and treatment. They also help break down access barriers and connect people to needed resources.

Court Officer

The Court Officer provides security and support services within the local judicial system during arraignments. They help to maintain control during arraignments, process arrests, and complete administrative tasks to support the overall functions of KDPS.

Equipment Operator

An equipment operator is responsible for operating and driving fire apparatus to emergency incidents, ensuring a timely and safe arrival at the scene. They play a crucial role in transporting personnel, equipment, and water to effectively combat fires and provide immediate emergency medical assistance.

Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team & Crime Reduction Team

KVET is a multi-jurisdictional unit tasked with investigating and combating illegal drug activity within Kalamazoo County. KVET officers work to identify, disrupt, and dismantle drug-related offenses, including trafficking, distribution, and possession of illegal substances. KVET works hand-in-hand with the Crime Reduction Team, whose primary focus is to reduce and address violent crimes within the community. Both teams work proactively to prevent, investigate, and mitigate incidents of violent crime through targeted enforcement.

Patrol Officer

Patrol Officers are responsible for providing continual coverage to the residents and visitors of Kalamazoo by responding to police, fire, and medical calls for service. Serving in the most visible and active role within KDPS, Patrol Officers combine proactive and reactive public safety strategies to ensure the well-being and safety of the community.

School Resource Officer

The School Resource Officer serves at Loy Norrix High School throughout the school year. Maintaining a daily presence at the school, the SRO provides safety, security, and mentorship to students and faculty while building positive and lasting relationships with the youth in our community.

Traffic Officer

The Traffic Officer specializes in enforcing traffic laws and providing public education to ensure road safety and promote safe driving practices. The Traffic Officer focuses on the short-term and long-term goals of KDPS, which is to deter potential violators and gain voluntary compliance with the law.

Training Officer

Training Officers are responsible for developing, coordinating, and delivering training programs to over 300 sworn and non-sworn KDPS employees to enhance our employees’ skills, knowledge, and effectiveness. Given the complexity of the Public Safety Model which combines police, fire, and EMS duties into a single profession, Training Officers stay up-to-date on industry best practices to deliver high quality instruction.

Promotional Assignments

As you gain experience, you'll have the opportunity to apply for promotional assignments with increasing levels of responsibility. You'll increasingly find yourself in roles that have supervisory responsibilities and are more leadership-focused if your career takes this path.  

Command Officer

Command Officers serve in each division within KDPS in various capacities. Holding advanced positions within the agency, Command Officers provide leadership, direction, and supervision within their assigned divisions to ensure efficient and effective operations. There are 56 total Command Officers which includes 32 Sergeants, 14 Lieutenants, Five (5) Executive Lieutenants, and Five (5) Captains. Command Officers help to support the mission and vision of KDPS by aligning organizational goals with community needs. 


Detectives are tasked with investigating and solving major crimes within the community. With advanced training and technology, Detectives follow leads, conduct thorough investigations, analyze evidence, prepare detailed reports, and aid in prosecution of criminal offenders to bring justice and closure to victims of crime and their families.

Equipment Operator/Technician

Serving as both an Equipment Operator and Technical Rescue Team member, an Equipment Operator Technician combines both skillsets to safeguard lives, protect property, and mitigate risks during emergencies.

Fire Marshal/Deputy Fire Marshal

Fire Marshals are responsible for enforcing fire safety regulations, conducting inspections, and investigating the origins and causes of fires and explosions. They play a critical role in fire prevention education and ensuring compliance with fire safety codes and regulations for new businesses, buildings, and renovations.

Inspector of Professional Standards

The Inspector serves in a public and agency-facing role, ensuring integrity and accountability within KDPS by conducting thorough and impartial investigations into complaints of officer misconduct. The Inspector is also responsible for managing KDPS’ policies and procedures, reviewing critical incidents, and maintaining the agency’s police accreditation status.

Lab Specialist and Technician

Lab Specialists and Technicians are KDPS’ forensic experts. Specialists and Technicians are highly trained in multiple fields, including fingerprint analysis, firearm and ballistic examination, drug analysis, shooting scene reconstruction, blood spatter analysis and bloodstain pattern analysis, and crash reconstruction. Officers work in a multi-jurisdictional Forensic Crime Lab and spend their days working both in the lab and in the field.

PSOs can also serve as Relief Lab Technicians. As part of their daily duties, Relief Lab Technicians provide assistance to the Crime Lab with evidence collection, basic forensic examination, and advanced crime scene photography.

Polygraph Examiner

Serving in a specialized role within the Criminal Investigation Division, the Polygraph Examiner is tasked with conducting polygraph examinations to assess truthfulness and gather relevant information for criminal investigations. The Polygraph Examiner utilizes specialized equipment, training, and expertise to collaborate with detectives to investigate and solve crimes.

Strategic Planner

The Strategic Planner is responsible for aligning divisional goals and actions with broader organizational objectives. The Strategic Planner collaborates with various stakeholders to foster a culture of continuous improvement centered on developing strategic objectives, monitoring key performance, and utilizing data trends, while maintaining a deliberate focus on accomplishing operational goals.