City of Kalamazoo receives Redevelopment Ready Communities Certification

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced on November 29 that the City of Kalamazoo has been awarded Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) certification, recognizing efforts made to remove barriers and promote opportunities for prospective investors in the City.

The MEDC will formally present the award at the City Commissions Regular Business meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 4 at City Hall.

Kalamazoo joins 14 other Michigan communities that have qualified as “thoroughly prepared” in regards to zoning, planning and other considerations that increase competitiveness and encourage development.

“Our mission at MEDC is to empower communities so they can proactively shape their future, a future built on a solid foundation of retaining and attracting business investment and talent,” said MEDC Vice President Katharine Czarnecki. “We look forward to working collaboratively with Kalamazoo to create a vibrant community where business and talent want to be, and where a strong sense of community flourishes.”

As part of the program, the MEDC provided the City of Kalamazoo with a comprehensive assessment, comparing the City’s current practices with RRC best practice standards. The RRC program also considered transparency, predictability and efficiency as they relate to economic development.

“The City of Kalamazoo had many good policies, practices, and programs in place when we applied for RRC,” said Rebekah Kik, Director of Community Planning & Development. “The technical assistance, support from MEDC staff and consulting assisted in achieving certification and re-working policies that made our good programs and practices GREAT for the community.”

“RRC certification sends a positive message to the development community that we are a team dedicated to success. We want to show that our staff is resourceful, proactive, and have a strategic advantage when it comes to working with the state on various incentives and opportunities,” said Kik.

As part of the RRC certification process, the City of Kalamazoo created a formalized Public Participation Policy and a Marketing and Branding Strategy for promoting Economic Development. These were crafted in conjunction with Imagine Kalamazoo 2025, engaging key stakeholders to review processes that were in place and potential improvements.

Kalamazoo joins Allegan, Boyne City, Eastpointe, Escanaba, Ferndale, Lansing, Lathrup Village, Manistee, Marshall, Middleville, Muskegon, Roseville, Southfield and Ypsilanti as certified Redevelopment Ready Communities.


KDPS Awarded COPS Grant Funding from U.S. Department of Justice

 U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has awarded the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety $1,375,000 in funding under the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) to hire 11 new Public Safety Officers.  Kalamazoo is one of five agencies in the State of Michigan to receive this critical funding. 

The COPS Office received more than 1,100 CHP applications during the FY 2017 open solicitation period from law enforcement agencies in every state and US territory. After careful review of all applications, the COPS Office made FY 2017 CHP awards to 179 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies totaling $98,495,397 to support the hiring of 802 full time law enforcement officers.

Twenty-three years after the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was signed into law, the COPS Office continues to support the efforts of law enforcement agencies across the country as they develop creative and innovative ways to deal with long-standing community crime problems and public safety issues. To date, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion, including grants to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, to reduce crime by advancing community policing. In all, COPS Office funding has supported the hiring of more than 130,000 law enforcement officers in agencies large and small across the nation.

Additional information about the 2017 COPS Hiring Program can be found on the COPS website at

Chief Jeff Hadley Announces Departure from Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley announced today that he has accepted the position of Chief with the Chatham County (Georgia) Police Department. Chief Hadley’s last day with Kalamazoo’s Department of Public Safety will be November 22.

“I want to thank Chief Hadley for his nine years of dedicated service to the Kalamazoo community,” said City Manager Jim Ritsema. “His leadership has left KDPS a better organization and Kalamazoo a better City. I have no doubt he will continue to have this effect in Chatham County Georgia and in other communities as he continues his career.”

Mr. Ritsema will appoint Kalamazoo’s Deputy Chief Karianne Thomas to the position of Public Safety Chief immediately upon Jeff Hadley’s departure.

“Deputy Chief Thomas is a distinguished leader with experience in all aspects of law enforcement,” said City Manager Ritsema. “She has consistently been recognized throughout her career for her professionalism, effectiveness, and dedication to service, and earns the confidence and admiration of all of her colleagues.”

Deputy Chief Thomas is a 23-year veteran of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and fills integral roles at both KDPS and the administration of the City of Kalamazoo. Her career at KDPS has included serving as a Public Safety Officer, Crime Lab Technician, Detective Bureau Sergeant, Drug Enforcement Officer, and Inspector in the Office of Professional Standards. She has also been personally involved in hiring over half of the Department’s current sworn officers and served as Interim Human Resources Director for the City administration.

While at KDPS, Deputy Chief Thomas has received nine commendations from four different Public Safety Chiefs and received the KDPS Professional Excellence Award in 2006. In 2015 she was recognized by the Kalamazoo YWCA as a Woman of Achievement.

Deputy Chief Thomas graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and from Ferris State University with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She attended the FBI National Academy in 2014 and is a veteran of the United States Army where she attained the rank of Captain. She is married with two adult children.

“It is an honor to serve this community alongside the men and women of KDPS,” said Deputy Chief Thomas, “and we will continue to work tirelessly each day to protect and serve the people of Kalamazoo.”

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is the country’s largest combined public safety organization. Deputy Chief Thomas’s appointment to the position of Public Safety Chief will mark the first time a female has held the position in Kalamazoo. 

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.


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     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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