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How to Become a Police Officer in Kansas

Kansas is known as both the Sunflower State and the Wheat State for its many rolling fields with endless rows bright sunflowers and golden wheat. Farming is what Kansas is most known for today, but it has a rich Native American history. Today the state is patrolled by 6,030 dedicated members of various law enforcement agencies, who earn a good living in a state where the cost of living is 11.2% below the national average.1,2 To become cop, a deputy, or another type of peace officer, requires first being employed by an agency and then meeting state requirements for certification.

Kansas Police Officer Requirements

The Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (POST) is responsible for certifying all peace officers in the state and for setting the standards for law enforcement training. The process of becoming a cop, trooper, or deputy in Kansas begins with being hired by a particular agency. This is followed by training at a state academy and certification through POST. The minimum requirements for being certified include:

  • A minimum age of 21
  • US citizenship
  • No felony convictions
  • No misdemeanor domestic violence convictions
  • Good moral character
  • Passing psychological, medical, and physical assessments to determine the ability to perform the duties of law enforcement

Kansas Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The mission of the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) is to improve public safety, to be responsive to citizens, and to treat people with respect and courtesy while patrolling the state highways and enforcing the laws. To become a trooper with the KHP, new recruits must meet the state’s minimum requirements as set by POST as well as a few additional KHP requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma or a GED
  • Have a valid Kansas driver’s license
  • Have adequate vision and hearing
  • Be willing to work anywhere in the state

Once new troopers meet the standards, go through the hiring process, and are offered employment, the next stop is to complete 23 weeks of training at the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy followed by 16 weeks of on-the-job training with a veteran trooper.

Kansas Sheriff Deputy Requirements

All counties in Kansas have a sheriff’s office or department and each has its own process and standards for hiring deputies. Those hired must meet the POST minimum requirements and complete training and certification through the POST Academy or one of its satellite campuses.

Johnson County

Johnson County is the most populous county in the state with its county seat at Olathe. Overland Park is also here and is the second largest city after Wichita. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office hires deputies through a lengthy and rigorous procedure. In addition to meeting the POST requirements, new deputies must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a valid driver’s license with few infractions
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Pass a drug screening
  • Have eyesight correctable to 20/20 and good hearing
  • Be able to speak, read, and write English fluently
  • Demonstrate responsibility and stability through a background check

Sedgwick County

Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, is the county seat of Sedgwick County. Deputies with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office have rewarding careers patrolling the county. New deputies begin with a generous hourly rate of $19.77 per hour and also get medical, dental and other benefits including tuition reimbursement.3 To be considered for employment as a deputy in Sedgwick County, new recruits must meet the POST requirements and apply with the Sheriff’s Office.

Police Departments in Kansas

Kansas is known as a rural state and there are plenty of small towns with small police departments, but there are also the agencies of the bigger cities like Wichita and Kansas City. Suburban departments offer a mix of big city excitement and small town charm. For hopeful new cops in Kansas, the options are varied. To qualify to work for a police department, new recruits must meet the POST standards, apply for a position with a department and be offered employment, and finally go through a POST-approved training course.

Wichita

With a population of 386,552, Wichita is the biggest city in Kansas and yet it still has the charm that midwestern residents come to expect.4 The Wichita Police Department recruits hopeful new police officers to go through basic training and become members of the force. To be considered, new recruits must meet the following requirements in addition to those set by POST:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • No dishonorable discharge from the military
  • Have a valid Kansas driver’s license without serious violations
  • Live within 30 minutes of Wichita
  • Not have ever used a felony controlled substance
  • Not have used marijuana or non-prescribed medications in the last three years

For more information on the Wichita Police Department, visit our in-depth guide How to Become a Police Officer in Wichita.

Kansas City

Kansas City is the smaller sister to Kansas City, Missouri, across the border. It offers residents all the benefits of a large city with the feel of a smaller town. The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department is on the lookout for qualified new recruits to join the team. Officers in the Department patrol the streets of this unique city and help protect citizens by preventing and investigating crimes. In addition to POST requirements, new Kansas City recruits must have:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Normal hearing
  • Vision that is at least 20/100 and correctable to 20/30

Police Training Academies in Kansas

There are several police training academies in Kansas. Some are available for officers and deputies from anywhere in the state, while some are more specific, like the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy for state troopers. To attend one of the academies, a new recruit must first be hired by an agency within the state. The academies in Kansas are:

  • Johnson County Regional Police Academy – Overland Park, KS
  • Kansas City Police Department Academy – Kansas City, KS
  • Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy – Salina, KS
  • Lawrence Police Department Academy – Lawrence, KS
  • Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center – Hutchinson, KS
  • Topeka Police Department Academy – Topeka, KS
  • Wichita-Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Training Center – Wichita, KS

Kansas Police Jobs Outlook

Police officers and deputies make a good living in Kansas, with an average annual salary of $44,050.1 For hopeful new recruits, the outlook for working in law enforcement in Kansas is positive. Projections predict that the number of positions will grow by an average of 250 openings each year between now and 2022, which represents an increase of 6.3%, which is higher than the national average.6

For more information about current law enforcement openings, take a look at our Police Jobs page.

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Kansas

City Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Kansas City, MO-KS 4,360 $52,510
Topeka 690 $42,580
Wichita 1,170 $43,320

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Kansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ks.htm#33-0000
2. Best Places to Live in Kansas: http://www.bestplaces.net/state/kansas
3. Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office: http://www.sedgwickcounty.org/sheriff/employment.asp
4. US Census Bureau, Kansas: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/20/2079000.html
5. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm