How to Become a Police Officer in Kansas
Kansas is patrolled by 5,880 dedicated members of various law enforcement agencies, who earn a competitive average salary in a state where the cost of living is 10% below the national average.1,2 To become a cop or sheriff’s deputy in Kansas, you must meet the state’s minimum requirements for peace officer certification. Continue reading to learn more about statewide requirements as well as requirements specific to major law enforcement agencies in Kansas.
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 minimum requirements for being certified include:
- A minimum age of 21
- US citizenship
- A high school diploma or GED
- No felony convictions
- No misdemeanor domestic violence convictions or other disqualifying misdemeanors
- Good moral character
- Passing psychological, medical, and physical assessments to determine the ability to perform the duties of law enforcement
In order to complete a police training academy in Kansas and become POST-certified, you must be formally hired by a law enforcement agency. The state does not recognize self-sponsored applicants.
Kansas Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements
The mission of the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) is to improve public safety, be responsive to citizens, and treat people with respect and courtesy while patrolling state highways and enforcing laws. The KHP offers a starting salary of $18.26 per hour while in training, $20.58 per hour after academy graduation, and regular step increases with promotion and experience up to $34.42 per hour for master troopers/technical troopers.3 To become a trooper with the KHP, new recruits must meet the state’s minimum requirements as set by POST and must:
- 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 step is to complete 23 weeks of training at the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy in Salina, which is 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 is the most populous county in the state with its county seat at Olathe. Overland Park is also in Johnson County and is the second largest city in Kansas after Wichita. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) offers competitive hiring packages, with deputy sheriffs starting at an annual salary of $44,720; master deputies can earn up to a maximum of $72,612 per year in base compensation.4 The JCSO regularly hires new deputies, who must complete a lengthy and rigorous screening process. In addition to meeting state POST requirements, new deputies must:
- 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
Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, is the county seat of Sedgwick County. Deputies with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) can build rewarding careers. Commissioned deputies enjoy a starting salary of $20.26 per hour ($15.96 per hour for detention deputies) and also receive medical, dental, and other benefits including tuition reimbursement.5 To be considered for employment as a deputy in Sedgwick County, new recruits must meet the state POST requirements and pass the department’s stringent hiring process.
Police Departments in Kansas
For hopeful new cops in Kansas, the options are varied. Kansas is known as a rural state and there are plenty of small towns with small police departments, but there are also urban police departments dedicated to bigger cities like Wichita and Kansas City. Suburban departments offer a mix of big-city excitement and small-town charm. To qualify to work for a police department, new recruits must meet state POST standards, apply for a position with a department and be offered employment, and graduate from a POST-approved training course.
With a population of 390,000, Wichita is the biggest city in Kansas.6 The Wichita Police Department (WPD) is consistently recruiting for well-qualified new police officers. Academy recruits earn $22.13 per hour, which rises to $23.17 at swearing-in; with regular step increases, officers can earn up to $68,099 per year in base salary.7 To be considered, new recruits must meet the following requirements in addition to those set by POST:
- 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
To learn more, see our guide to becoming a cop in Wichita.
Kansas City, Kansas 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 (KCKPD) is always on the lookout for qualified new recruits to join the team. Officers in the KCKPD patrol the streets of this unique city and help protect citizens by preventing and investigating crimes. The KCKPD employs over 330 sworn officers.8 In addition to POST requirements, Kansas City police recruits must have:
- 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
Kansas police officers and sheriff’s deputies make an average annual salary of $47,920.1 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 37 openings each year between now and 2026, which represents an overall increase of 6%.9
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||4,220||$53,700|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Kansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ks.htm
2. Best Places to Live in Kansas: https://www.bestplaces.net/state/kansas
3. Kansas Highway Patrol: https://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/
4. Johnson County Sheriff’s Office: https://joinjcso.org/positions/deputy-sheriff
5. Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/sheriff/careers/
6. US Census Bureau, Kansas: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/KS/PST045219
7. Wichita Police Department: https://www.wichita.gov/WPD/Recruitment/Pages/Benefits.aspx
8. Kansas City Kansas Police Department: http://www.kckpd.org/index.html
9. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm