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How to Become a Police Officer in Kansas City

With a population of approximately 475,378, Kansas City, Missouri has a cost of living 13% lower than the national average.1 However, its crime rate is higher than the average for similarly-sized cities, with 596.7 violent crimes and 2,727.9 property crimes per 100,00 residents.2 The 1,282 sworn members and 515 non-sworn personnel of the Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) are devoted to reducing the crime rate while protecting and serving the residents of the city.3 The process and requirements for joining the KCPD as a sworn officer is outlined below.

Kansas City Police Officer Requirements

The KCPD strives to recruit the most qualified candidates who reflect the diversity of the city. There are several minimum requirements that must be met before a new recruit will be considered for a law enforcement position. A candidate must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Establish residency in Kansas City within 6 months of completing the probationary period
  • Not have excessive traffic violations or a past pattern of drug abuse
  • Not have any felony convictions
  • Not have a dishonorable discharge from the military

To apply to be a cop with the KCPD, candidates who are qualified must first apply to the department and then register for and take a written examination and a physical abilities test. If a potential recruit passes these tests, he or she will complete a background investigation, a polygraph examination, a ride-along experience, an oral interview, and psychological and medical examinations. Successful candidates will attend recruit training at the police academy.

For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If you are ready to apply, find specific application information on the Kansas City Police Department Employment page.

The Chief of Police for the KCPD is Richard C. Smith. Chief Smith started his career as an officer with the KCPD in 1988 and has worked his way up the ranks holding assignments in Robbery and Homicide and Tactical Response, among others. He also previously commanded the East and Central Patrol Divisions. Chief Smith holds a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Park University and a master’s in criminal justice from the University of Central Missouri.

Kansas City Regional Police Academy

New recruits to the KCPD complete basic training at the Regional Police Academy in Kansas City. The academy trains new cops with all the skills needed to work in law enforcement and the curriculum is set by Missouri’s Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission. The basic training program is a rigorous course of comprehensive studies and takes 28 to 30 weeks to complete. Upon successful completion, recruits become certified as sworn officers. For the first six months of employment, officers are considered probationary hires and participate in further training through the department’s field training program.

Kansas City Police Department Information

The KCPD is responsible for patrolling a city of almost half of a million people. Most KCPD officers begin their careers in patrol. There are many opportunities for qualified officers to advance within the KCPD. The department makes use of several special units to best serve and protect residents. These include canine and bicycle units, and units that specialize in sex crimes, domestic violence, vehicular crimes, crimes against children, gang violence, and much more.

Amid a rise in violent crime, the KCPD is continually recruiting new officers and retooling its hiring process. The KCPD is particularly interested in recruiting more women and minorities to more accurately reflect Kansas City’s demographics in its ranks.4 However, due to the rigorous selection and training process, only 10 to 15% of recruits who enter the process emerge as worn officers.4

The KCPD is also focusing on engaging the community. Any adult living or working in Kansas City and with good standing within the community can apply to participate in the KCPD Citizens Police Academy. The 12-week course gives participants an idea of what it is like to be a police officer with classroom and hands-on instruction. The department also offers residents the chance to experience what officers do every day with the Ride Along program.

Department Contact Information

1125 Locust
Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 234-5000
KCPD Website
KCPD Facebook
KCPD Twitter

Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook

New law enforcement officers in the KCPD earn $3,130 per month during basic training, $3,444 during a six-month probationary period after training, and $43,404 per year as a fully sworn officer after successfully completing probation.3 Officers in the KCPD also get benefits such as paid vacation time, overtime pay, sick leave, health insurance, tuition reimbursement, and college incentive pay. The police defined benefit contribution plan is based on a member contribution of 11.55% of base pay; members are eligible to retire after 27 years of service.5 Retirement pay is based on the 36 months of service during which the member received the highest base salary.5 The average annual salary for a cop in the Kansas City metro is $53,700.6

Long-term projections for the state of Missouri suggest that the outlook for future jobs in law enforcement is good. Statewide, the growth in these jobs is expected to be 8.3% through 2026, which means an average of 112 new jobs in the state each year.7 For more information on current KCPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.

Additional Resources

  • Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police – The Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police serves officers across the Kansas City metro, providing networking opportunities, legal defense, and more.
  • Missouri Fraternal Order of Police – The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police welcomes active and retired police members from across the state of Missouri and advocates for improved working conditions and benefits for law enforcement.

References:
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Kansas City, MO: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/missouri/kansas_city
2. US News & World Report Best Places to Live, Kansas City, MO: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/missouri/kansas-city/crime
3. Kansas City Police Department: http://kcmo.gov/police/
4. Fox 4 Kansas City, “KC Still Struggling to Recruit Police Officers While Violent Crime Issues Persist,” 19 Mar. 2018: https://fox4kc.com/2018/03/19/kc-still-struggling-to-recruit-police-officers-while-violent-crime-issues-persist/
5. Kansas City Police Employees’ Retirement Systems: http://www.kcpers.org/default.aspx/MenuItemID/112/MenuGroup/Member+Information.htm
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Kansas City, MO-KS: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_28140.htm#33-0000
7. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm