KDPS Initiatives

The men and women of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) are committed to being at the forefront of their profession. The recommendations of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing are at the foundation of the work of KDPS. The task force identified recommendations and best practices for promoting effective crime reduction while building public trust. 

21st Century Policing

Since the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued its final report in May 2015, KDPS has taken a number of steps based on the report's six pillars. KDPS has incorporated the practices and recommendations from each pillar and continues to further implement these and other national best practices. Examples of policies and initiatives that have been implemented related to each pillar are provide below: 

Pillar I - Building Trust and Legitimacy

Citizens Public Safety Review and Appeals Board, body-worn cameras, Pastors on Patrol, Citizens Public Safety Academy, Bigs 'n Badges, Youth Mentoring, Community Engagement Team, Amnesty Day, Expungement Clinic.

Pillar II - Policy and Oversight
Police accreditation, policy review, hiring strategies, FBI National Use-of-Force Data Collection, strategic planning, Citizens Public Safety Review and Appeals Board

Pillar III - Technology and Social Media 
Body-worn cameras, in-car camera systems, social media management, RAVE Alert System, Kalamazoo Strategic Operations Center (K-SOC)

Pillar IV - Community Policing and Crime Reduction
Group Violence Intervention/Bridging Opportunities, blight clean up, crime reduction meetings, youth sports leagues, Offender Success Program, High Risk Domestic Violence Team, Fraud Task Force, Crime Reduction Team

Pillar V - Training & Education
Fair and impartial policing, cultural competency, pdf Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Program (EDIP) (265 KB) , active violence training, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), de-escalation training, implicit bias, organizational differences, use-of-force/defensive tactics

Pillar VI - Officer Wellness and Safety
Peer fitness training, chaplain corps/Pastors on Patrol, scenario-based training, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), tactical first aid, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), after action review, suicide prevention training, workplace harassment awareness, brain health

KDPS Strategic Plan

In 2018 KDPS created a strategic plan for the years of 2019-2021. This plan is informed by the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing with the goal of improving quality of life in the City of Kalamazoo through professional police, fire, and EMS service. 

Image KDPS Pillars (60 KB)

pdf 2019-2021 Strategic Plan (189 KB)

Group Violence Intervention

The aim of the GVI strategy is to reduce peer dynamics in the group that promote violence by creating collective accountability, to foster internal social pressure that deters violence, to establish clear community standards against violence, to offer group members an “honorable exit” from committing acts of violence, and to provide a supported path for those who want to change. GVI has repeatedly demonstrated that violence can be dramatically reduced when a partnership of community members, law enforcement, and social service providers directly engages with the small and active number of people involved in street groups and clearly communicates a credible moral message against violence, prior notice about the consequences of further violence, and a genuine offer of help for those who want it. A central method of communication is the call-in, a face-to-face meeting between group members and the strategy’s partners.

In Kalamazoo, GVI is a collaboration between KDPS and a number of community and social service organizations including Interfaith Strategies for Advocacy & Action in the Community, Northside Ministerial Alliance, Urban Alliance, the City of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County Probation and Parole Office, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office, and the U.S. attorney’s office.

Encore: Pursuing Peace

ISAAC: GVI Presentation

8 Can't Wait

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety has implemented seven of the eight actions included in 8 Can't Wait.

pdf Statement from Chief Karianne Thomas Regarding 8 Can't Wait (156 KB)

pdf Specific KDPS polices related to 8 Can't Wait (158 KB)

Ban chokeholds & strangleholds 
KDPS policy does not permit the use of chokeholds, strangleholds, or any use-of-force that would block a person's airway. This is considered deadly force. 

Require de-escalation 
KDPS has policies in place that require de-escalation and provides Crisis Intervention Training to help officers engage individuals in crisis. 

Require warning before shooting 
KDPS requires officers to provide a warning before shooting when feasible (for example, in an incident where an officer responds to a call and is immediately fired upon it is not always feasible to provide warning). 

Require exhaustion of all alternatives before shooting
KDPS policy does not necessarily require all alternatives to be exhausted before shooting. KDPS policy relies on a use-of-force continuum related to the amount of resistance and imminent threat that is being faced.

Duty to intervene 
KDPS officers are required to intervene in cases where excessive force is being used and to report any policy violations that they are made aware of. 

Ban shooting at moving vehicles 
KDPS policy prohibits shooting at moving vehicles. 

Require use-of-force continuum 
KDPS policies that guide use-of-force incorporate a use-of-force continuum.

Require comprehensive reporting 
KDPS has policies in place that require reporting including police reports and benchmark reports for certain activities such as vehicles pursuits and use of force.

Community Policing

Community Policing is a philosophy of policing intended to reduce crime and the fear of crime. It improves the Quality of Life by encouraging a partnership between Public Safety and the citizens of the community to develop a cohesive effort to solve problems creatively. Community policing strives to involve the citizens for input, information and assistance, leading to greater understanding and partnership.

The Community Police Officers (CPO’s) maintain a line of communication with neighborhood directors and associations to stay apprised of problems and priorities of the neighborhoods, so they can be addressed in a timely manner.

Read more about Community Policing here.

City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.


 (269) 337-8000
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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