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How to Become a Police Officer in Wichita

Wichita, Kansas has a population of 389,965 and a low cost of living that is nearly 14% below the national average.1 However, Wichita also has relatively high rates of violent and property crimes, with 4,029.3 property crimes and 709.6 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.2 These rates are both higher than the national averages and the averages for similarly-sized cities.2 To combat crime, the Wichita Police Department (WPD) employs approximately 612 sworn officers and 182 non-sworn employees.3 Individuals hoping to become a part of the Wichita Police Department will find information on the application, selection, and training process below.

Wichita Police Officer Requirements

The Wichita Police Department is continually recruiting qualified officers. Men and women who wish to become WPD cops must:

  • Be 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a valid Kansas driver’s license at the time of hire
  • Be honorably discharged from the military, if a veteran
  • Have no convictions of misdemeanors involving violent crime or the use of physical force within the past five years
  • Have no felony convictions, including juvenile offenses

The first step to becoming a Wichita cop is completing an online application. Qualified applicants will be invited to schedule a 100-question written aptitude test. Candidates who have passed the test complete an online pre-employment questionnaire, which is followed by a physical fitness test and an initial interview. Candidates who perform well in these stages will complete a panel interview, following which they may be placed on the eligibility list and be invited to take a polygraph exam and a third interview with a member of the WPD’s command staff. Those who are still in consideration at this stage will be offered conditional employment as they complete medical and psychological exams. Finally, recruits who make the cut will be placed in an upcoming police academy for training.

For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a big city, check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. For more recruitment information, visit WDP’s recruitment page.

In January 2016, Chief Gordon Ramsay was appointed as the Wichita Chief of Police. Chief Ramsay has served as a police officer since 1993, and prior to being appointed, served as the Police Chief of Duluth, MN from 2006 to 2016. Chief Ramsay holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Master of Arts in Management at the College of St. Scholastica. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy 222nd Session.

Wichita Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Training Center

After candidates complete the application process, the Chief of Police selects the candidates who will be appointed as police recruits to attend the Wichita Sedgwick County Law Enforcement Training Academy. While in the 24-week academy, recruits will learn about criminal justice and the law, firearms use, investigations, tactical and emergency vehicle operations, and patrol tactics, among other topics. Upon graduating from the academy, cops initially work alongside a field training officer before being assigned to their own patrol.

Wichita Police Department Information

The Wichita Police Department is organized into the three bureaus of field services, investigations, and support services, each of which has its own bureaus and units. WPD cops have jurisdiction in the city’s four quadrants: patrol north, patrol south, patrol east, and patrol west. Each quadrant is further subdivided into beats with at least one community police officer. All patrol officers work under the field services division. Other areas where WPD cops can work throughout their career include auto theft/larceny, the gang/felony assault section, the homicide section, and the property crimes bureau.

The Wichita Police Department has been proactively seeking new recruits as it faces a shortage of available officers.4 To reach staffing levels at comparably-sized cities, the department plans to add 73 officer positions over the next three years.5 The department is also eyeing changes to the way its bureaus are organized to make it easier to put more cops on patrol.4

To increase community engagement, the WPD offers a Citizen’s Police Academy to residents aged 20 and older who live in Sedgwick County. Attendees can have no felony convictions nor current warrants and must have two personal references. The academy helps citizens better understand daily police procedures while also improving relationships between the community and police. Other community programs include Spanish-language community workshops or “Los Talleres Comunitarios,” as well as Neighborhood Night Out events.

Department Contact Information

455 N Main
Wichita, KS 67202
(316) 268-4111
WPD Website
WPD Facebook
WPD Twitter

Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook

During police academy training, Wichita recruits are paid $22.13 per hour.4 Following academy graduation, newly-sworn officers start at an annual salary of $48,193.4 With regular step increases, after 15 years of service Wichita patrol officers can earn a maximum base salary of $68,099 per year.4 WPD cops receive paid vacation and medical leave and other benefits like a clothing allowance of $700 per year and additional monthly pay for having a bachelor’s or master’s degree.4 Wichita cops can retire at the age of 50 after at least 20 years of service at 50% of their pay; after 30 years of service, cops leaving the force can earn a maximum of 75% of their pay during retirement.4

The average annual salary for Wichita police is $47,310.6 The number of cops in Kansas overall is projected to increase by 6% through 2026.7 The exact number of classes of police recruits and new law enforcement officers hired is determined by the city’s budget and the number of cops who retire during the year. To view open listings for police officers in Wichita, visit our police jobs board.

Cities and Police Departments Near Wichita

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are about 1,260 police and sheriff’s patrol officers employed in the greater Wichita area.6 In addition to opportunities with the Wichita PD, officers in this area can find opportunities with several smaller towns and rural departments. The below table compares local departments based on police employment and crime statistics.

CityForce Name/AbbreviationCity Population8Police Dept. Total Employees9Sworn Officers9Civilian Staff9Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People10Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People10
AndoverAndover Police Department (APD)13,278332670.111.54
DerbyDerby Police Department (DPD)24,7215545100.092.18
HaysvilleHaysville Police Department (HPD)11,264322570.162.92
WichitaWichita Police Department (WPD)389,2557946121821.065.41

Additional Resources

References:
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Wichita, KS: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/kansas/wichita
2. US News & World Report Best Places to Live, Wichita, KS: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/kansas/wichita/crime
3. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Full-time Law Enforcement Employees by State by City, 2016: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-26/table-26.xls/view
4. Wichita Police Department: http://www.wichita.gov/WPD/Pages/default.aspx
5. The Wichita Eagle, “Police or Projects? Wichita Is Shifting Money so It Can Hire More Officers,” 1 June 2018: https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article211850004.html
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Wichita, KS https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_48620.htm
7. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
8. US Census Bureau, QuickFacts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045218
9. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Full-time Law Enforcement Employees by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-26/table-26.xls/view
10. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-6/table-6.xls/view