KDPS welcomes new officer to its ranks

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Photo by Dennis Mansfield

Sgt. Aaron Popa of the Kalkaska Department of Public Safety introduces the department's newest officer, Ben O'Connor, at the Kalkaska Village Council meeting on Monday, June 11. Until O'Connor's hiring, Popa had been left as the KDPS' only certified officer for the past several weeks.


KALKASKA – The Kalkaska Department of Public Safety is no longer a one-man operation.

Sgt. Aaron Popa has been the lone certified officer for the KDPS in recent weeks. But, at the Kalkaska Village Council’s regular meeting Monday, June 11, Popa introduced the police department’s newest hire, officer Ben O’Connor.

Village manager Scott Yost, who is also the KDPS director but is not a certified law enforcement officer, said he and Popa recently interviewed as many as eight candidates. The finalists were then interviewed a second time, with Village president Haley Wales and trustee Diana Needham, chairwoman of the council’s Personnel Committee, also sitting in on the proceedings.

“It was a tough decision,” Yost said.

“It was real tough,” added Needham.

According to Yost, O’Connor’s hiring is still pending the outcome of various background checks on the 24-year-old resident of the Traverse City area.

“Law enforcement has always been a calling,” said O’Connor, a graduate of Northwestern Michigan College’s police academy, when introduced at Monday’s meeting.

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