Law Enforcement Careers in Michigan

There’s no sugar coating Michigan’s struggles with crime, given that it’s home to some of the most violent cities in the nation, including Detroit and Flint. According to 2019 FBI data, Michigan was home to nearly 44,000 incidents of violent crime and about 160,000 incidents of property crime.

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But for motivated men and women with aspirations of starting a career in law enforcement, these crime stats simply equate to more opportunities to make a difference. In Michigan, as elsewhere, careers in law enforcement are open to candidates who have a good moral standing in society and a personal record mostly clean from financial problems, traffic violations, criminal history, and illegal drug use.

Michigan State Police: Jobs and Training

The Michigan State Police is a full-service police agency that includes more than 3,000 employees. Just some of the specialty divisions within this agency include Intelligence Operations, Special Investigation, Special Operations, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, and Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Applicants for a state trooper position must have at least a high school education or GED, and a college education is recommended. Training lasts for 19-21 weeks.

Jobs with County Sheriff’s Departments in Michigan

Some of Michigan’s largest police agencies are the county sheriff’s offices responsible for serving the citizens in the state’s unincorporated areas. Beyond basic patrolling duties, sheriff’s departments are often responsible for overseeing county jail systems and providing court security.

Wayne County

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for managing the largest jail system in the state, with an average daily population of 2,600 inmates. The primary role of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department is related to its judicial functions, but it also conducts law enforcement activities such as patrols, investigations, and special responses. To become a Wayne County sheriff’s deputy applicants will be subject to a written, physical, and psychological exam.

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Kent County

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for law enforcement duties and maintaining the county’s jail facility and other corrections programs. Additionally, this sheriff’s department has its own training facility, which includes a mock intake room and jail cell, as well as a shooting range.

Macomb County

The Macomb County Sheriff’s Department includes 500 employees and operates with an annual budget of $74 million. Deputies here may work in the county jail, on patrol, or in one of the department’s many specialized units, such as the dive team, K-9, SWAT, and Mobile Field Force.

Applicants for sheriff’s deputy positions must have a high school diploma or GED, although the department prefers applicants with a college degree. Male applicants must provide proof of registration with the Selective Services, and all who apply must pass a written and physical test from the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

Municipal Police Careers in Michigan

Some of the most challenging law enforcement jobs in the state are found in Michigan’s cities, many of which hold the dubious titles of being among the most dangerous in the nation. Many of Michigan’s police departments are also home to a variety of specialized units and divisions such as K-9, SWAT, and criminal investigations units.


The Detroit Police Department has eight stations spread throughout the city. Recently this police department adopted the concept of a “virtual precinct,” allowing the redeployment of more than 100 officers city-wide. This idea reorganizes police services by placing more of an emphasis on non-emergency telephone crime reporting, and in the future will expand to include text messaging and other forms of electronic communication.

Job applicants must be at least 18 years old and must hold a high school diploma or GED to qualify. They must also pass the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) test before they can proceed through the hiring process.

Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Police Department is the second largest police department in the State of Michigan, with 316 sworn officers, 81 civilian employees, and 190,000 residents. This department receives about 150,000 calls for service each year.

Candidates must be at least 18 years old, they must hold a high school diploma or GED, and they must have no felony convictions or recent history of illegal drug use.


The Warren Police Department employs many initiatives designed to strengthen the relationships between the department and the public. For example, they have a youth crime prevention program called PAL that consists of educational, athletics, and recreational activities that are used to build trust and understanding between police officers and the city’s youth.

Candidates for police officer positions here must be at least 21 years old, must be in good physical shape, must have a relatively clean criminal record, and must have completed at least 64 college credits.

Sterling Heights

The Sterling Heights Police Department includes operations, investigations, support services, and emergency management divisions. Within the emergency management division, a representative from the police department liaises with counterparts from the fire, IT, risk management, and community relations departments to establish prioritized action plans for emergency situations.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old, must have a valid driver’s license, must have no felony, domestic violence, or sexual crime convictions, and must meet the requirements of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES).

Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor Police Department includes 126 sworn officers and a total staff of 155. This full-service police department is home to a detective unit, traffic services unit, K-9 unit, and motorcycle and bicycle patrols, among others.

To qualify for a police officer job with the Ann Arbor Police Department, candidates must have an associate degree or an equivalent amount of college credit, or two years of active experience in the military or as a sworn law enforcement officer.


Lansing is home to more than 114,000 residents , and a police department that stands as one of the best examples of a law enforcement agency with officers who work closely with the community. Being one of the cities that founded the concept of “community policing”, Lansing fosters community engagement through partnership associations like neighborhood and business watch, community policing services, and even a school scholarship program.

Prospective officer candidates must be at least 21 years old, must have a valid Michigan driver’s license, and must have either an associate degree or an equivalent amount of college credits.

Michigan Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for law enforcement officers in Michigan was $64,380 as of May 2021.

The following police/sheriff’s department salary data was sourced from May 2021 BLS stats (early career = 25th percentile, senior/late career = 90th percentile).

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Police Officer Salaries

Starting salaries for police officers in Michigan’s largest police departments range between $50,000 and $64,000. Information for individual departments is shown below:

Detroit Police Department

The Detroit Police Department pays its officers a salary of between $60,040 and $81,850. Officers with at least two years of college education are eligible for an additional 2% at hire.

Grand Rapids Police Department

The Grand Rapids Police Department’s early career police officers earn about $59,010. The top salary for police officers here is $81,020.

Lansing Police Department

Police officers with the Lansing Police Department earn a starting salary of about $50,960 and a top salary of about $83,340.

Jackson Police Department

Police officers with the Jackson Police Department earn a starting salary of about $58,370. They earn a top salary of $76,010.

Ann Arbor Police Department

Police officers with the Ann Arbor Police Department earn a starting salary of $64,600. Additional salary increases are available annually, with the salary for these officers topping out at $95,340.

Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries

The average, starting salary for sheriff’s deputies among Michigan’s largest sheriff’s departments is about $54,000.

Genesee County Sheriff’s Department

Deputy sheriffs with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department earn a starting salary of $51,410.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Department

The salary for entry-level deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department is about $58,370.

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

State troopers with the Michigan State Police earn about $51,410 in the first few years of service and a maximum salary of $81,850 after 20 years of service.

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022.

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