Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety

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Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety
Abbreviation KDPS
Agency overview
Formed 1983
Superseding agency Kalamazoo Police Department and Kalamazoo Fire Department
Employees 327
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Michigan, USA
Kalamazoo County Michigan Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Kalamazoo Highlighted.svg
Location of Kalamazoo within Kalamazoo County, Michigan
Size 25.11 sq mi (65.03 sq km)
Population 74,262 (2010)
Legal jurisdiction Kalamazoo, MI
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 150 E. Crosstown Kalamazoo, MI
Agency executive Karianne Thomas, Chief
Stations 7
KDPS Website
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is the department charged with police, fire and rescue operations in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It is one of the largest public safety departments in the nation, with over 200 sworn officers.

Public Safety Model[edit]

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety was one of the original public safety departments in the world. The Kalamazoo Police Department and Kalamazoo Fire Department were merged in the 1980s with the goal of saving significant tax payer money while increasing the amount of police and fire protection for its citizens. The merger of the departments was a difficult process on reaching agreement with unions covering the fire department and police department. The difficult effort of the merger of the departments along with the successes was even noted by the United States House of Representatives in the Congressional Record.[1]

As one of the largest public safety departments Kalamazoo Public Safety is now considered a model public safety department and often consults and trains other cities throughout the world on the public safety model.[2][3][4]

Racial Profiling and Bias[edit]

The Kalamazoo community has long accused the department of racial profiling and the department commissioned a year long study which substantiated the community's claims when it comes to traffic stops.[5] Since this time the department has been working hard to confront the racial bias in its department and has received international news coverage for attempting to address the racial issues the department acknowledges it has.[6]

Cash and Contraband Missing From Evidence Room[edit]

In 1995 a Grand Jury was convened to investigate missing cash and contraband from Kalamazoo Public Safety's evidence room.[7] Although much of the evidence and investigation still remains secret and the US Attorney declined to prosecute the city attorney at the time has publicly acknowledged that the incident happened[8]


On April 18, 2011, while responding to a shots fired call in Kalamazoo's Edison neighborhood, PSO Eric Zapata was fatally shot. Officer Zapata was the first officer in Kalamazoo to be killed in the line of duty. A funeral was held in his honor on April 26, 2011 at Miller Auditorium. Thousands of people, some from around the United States showed up to pay their final respects.[9]


External links[edit]