Training Day: FOX 17 Erica Francis joins police cadets at KVCC

Posted at 9:00 AM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 09:02:34-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Police work is an occupation like none other. We see police officers on duty all of the time, but seldom do we see what they go through to get where they are today. Behind every police officer is hours of rigorous training.

Current cadets are headed for jobs with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

KDPS Deputy Chief Karianne Thomas says they only hire the best. "We're making a huge investment up front, so we gotta make sure we're investing in the right people for the right reasons," Thomas said. The training process is not restricted to police work: duties in a safety department include police work, firefighting and medical first responding.

On KVCC's Police Academy training, cadets were put through a number of real-life scenarios, practicing felony stops, shooting at targets, saving a dummy from a pool, and helping a victim of domestic violence.

"With the scenarios they have us go through here, we’re prepared for the worst case scenario," said Zachary Drake, a former cadet.

"We protect and serve the protection part is when people call 911, serve is such a huge part of law enforcing every day they go out in the commune engage, engage with the youth," said professional standards division inspector Matt Elzinga.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety will be hiring additional Public Safety Officers starting January 2018. Applications may be submitted from June 7 through June 25, 2017 online here.

To be considered, applicants must be a U.S. citizen and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, a valid driver’s license, and be 21 years old by January 1, 2018. You'll also have to pass a written and physical test and an extensive background investigation.

Applicants will also be required to pass a written and physical test and an extensive background investigation. Applicants are not required to be police certified to apply.

Newly hired officers start at $18.95 per hour. Those who have already received their firefighter certifications will start at $20.83 per hour. Applicants do not need to have prior police or fire certifications to be considered; newly hired officers may be sponsored through the police academy and provide fire training if needed.

Those interested are encouraged to fill out a “Job Interest Card” available at which will send notification when the application process begins.

Nine officers who were sponsored through KVCC's Police Academy, graduated Friday, May 19 and are now employed with KDPS.