Become a Tribal Police Officer

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Pokagon Potawatomi heritage and culture plays an important role in tribal policing. Their badge displays the image of the bear; the bear clan is the traditional protector of a tribal village, as the Tribal Police are today. Officers participate in cultural and community gatherings like pow wows, Culture Camp, and hunting or fishing events. More about tribal history, language, and traditions can be found here.

Tribal policing is unique

An officer must be knowledgeable in state, federal, and tribal law. Pokagon Tribal Police officers are licensed under Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES), sworn sheriffs' deputies in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties in Michigan, and St. Joseph county in Indiana, and commissioned as federal officers by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A tribal officer can expect to be involved in everything from conservation and gaming law to violent crime responses and investigations in the tribe's ten county service area in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana.

The level of certification and training with the Tribal Police is higher than that of municipal or state agencies. Each officer is deputized by the sheriff of each county with which the Tribal Police have a cross deputation agreement.

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Why you want to work for the Tribal Police

Patrol officer hourly wage ranges from $21.50 - $24.50 depending on experience. Officers receive holiday premium pay, life, health and dental insurance, paid leave, and a MERS pension plan in which you are fully vested after five years.

Thanks to access to federal grants and secure funding streams, Pokagon Tribal Police officers receive the best equipment, vehicles, and technology. From patrol car to firearms gear, only the best and safest equipment is issued.

Every patrol car is fully equipped with such cutting edge technology as state wide portable radio, a computer-aided dispatch center, and computerized record management system. In-car computers provide up to date dispatch information and access to police records and mug shots. Citations are created and printed inside the car. Our back seats are a solid plastic insert to prevent offenders from hiding contraband and weapons. Full screens. between the front and back of the vehicle are almost completely sealed to protect officers from hostile offenders and to provide extra protection in the event of a vehicle roll over.

How we'll prepare you

Pokagon Tribal Police use Field Training Operations to train and evaluate newly hired officers to produce a highly-trained, motivated officer capable of exceeding standards. Most new recruits will spend 16 weeks in the FTO stage.

Once hired, a new officer will complete a one-day cultural orientation before being placed with a training officer. Our motivated field training officers train and mentor a new officer in all aspects to be successful. Indiana officers will be sent to a week-long MCOLES (Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards) training.


How to join our team

Open positions are posted on our careers page. The first step is a telephone screening interview, followed by a pre-screen questionnaire. An in-person interview comes next, and after that candidates go through a background investigation, psychological exam, and drug screening. To apply, candidates must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or in the process of obtaining citizenship
  • have a high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • be at least 21 years of age at the time of appointment
  • possess a valid driver's license
  • have 20/20 corrected vision in each eye
  • pass the MCOLES pre-employment test
  • be certified or certifiable as a police officer in the state of Michigan
  • qualify for recognition of prior training and experience program

Department Staff

The Pokagon Tribal Police Department Command Staff consists of the chief, two operations lieutenants, one detective lieutenant, one training lieutenant, seven sergeants, one emergency manager and one office manager.  Investigative personnel is comprised of two detectives and four tribal investigators, one of which is also assigned to the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.  There are currently 24 patrol officers, two conservation officers, one government resource officer, one community resource officer and one administrative coordinator.

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