It isn’t often that one finds a profession they really love, a natural calling, and get to make it their life’s work. Alan Klein and his wife Megan, of Hastings, have talked for at least five years about his desire to pursue his passion, a career in law enforcement, but they couldn’t find a way to make it happen.
Community Development director for Hastings, Alan likes his job and the work he does every day.
“I like what I do, but it’s doesn’t fulfill me. I want to help people.” Alan was accepted as a reserve police officer for the City of Hastings about two years ago.
“I absolutely loved it. I thought it would satisfy the urge to be in law enforcement, but it didn’t. It just made it worse.”
About nine months ago, after working late one night as a reserve officer, he walked into work the next morning and he was struck with the thought. “Why am I sacrificing my time and not doing what I really love doing?” That was the day the couple decided to make it happen. He applied to the Michigan State Police. Two days later he got a call from Bob Zuniga, former code compliance officer in Hastings.
Retired from Kalamazoo Public Safety Department, Zuniga knew of Alan’s interest in law enforcement. He told him Kalamazoo was having a special hiring enrollment and he should apply.
“He helped me with my resume. The only advice he gave me was, ‘Be yourself. Just be the man I worked with for four months; I know you’ll be in public safety,’” Alan recalls.
“I started the hiring process and with every step, it seemed more and more right…. It’s definitely a humbling process. I was one of 16 out of 320 applicants to be hired.” //
Being in law enforcement is dangerous and especially right now, on the national level and even on local streets. He knows that and that at times it will be stressful, at times it will be boring, “but, I feel like it’s what I was meant to be. It beings me fulfillment and joy. I really like to help people.”
He feels blessed and honored that Chief Pratt put him on the Hastings reserves and Chief Hadley in Kalamazoo is giving him a chance to achieve his dream.
“My last day with Hastings is Jan. 16. I start training on the 17th,” he said.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety’s website says it combines law enforcement and fire services into a unified organization of 257 employees to provide the highest level of professional public service to the community.
Officers have the opportunity to progress upward into the supervisory ranks or specialized technical position, as Criminal Investigators, Crime Laboratory Technicians, Neighborhood Liaison Officers, K-9 Handlers and Drug Enforcement Investigators.
Officers also may serve in special units, in addition to their primary assignments, such as the Honor Guard, Bomb Squad and Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT).
Kalamazoo is a ethnic and cultural diverse community and the department recognizes the value of diversity in its ranks as being absolutely necessary to carry out their roles as public servants. Community involvement is a primary organizational goal, according to the website.
Photo: Alan Klein