City of Kentwood Voters Approve Police and Fire Millage Increase

City of Kentwood Voters Approve Police and Fire Millage Increase

City of Kentwood voters Tuesday approved a permanent dedicated millage increase of 1.95 mills that will provide critical support for police and fire services.

The millage increase will be levied starting July 1, 2024, and is expected to generate more than $5.1 million in its first year. The funding will enable Kentwood’s Police and Fire departments to hire additional staff members, make necessary vehicle replacements and complete critical equipment upgrades in order to maintain response times and meet growing needs for police, fire and emergency medical services.

“Kentwood residents have approved additional funding that will ensure our Police and Fire departments have the necessary resources to protect and serve our community now and for years to come,” Mayor Stephen Kepley said. “As Kentwood’s population has grown, funds from the current millage have reached maximum impact. We are grateful residents recognized the need for an increase to meet our community’s growing demand for police, fire and emergency medical services.”

Kentwood has experienced significant population growth in the past 10 years, which has led to increased needs for police and fire services. Since 2010, the population has grown by 11.5%. During that time, police calls for service have risen 14% and fire calls have risen 36%.

In the first year, the millage increase will support critical police personnel needs, enabling the Police Department to add, train and support vital additions to the team.

“While our community has grown significantly over the past 10-plus years, our staffing levels have remained the same since 2000,” Police Chief Bryan Litwin said. “This funding will enable us to get our staffing levels up to where they need to be so we can continue to serve our community with excellence.”

As Kentwood’s population continues to grow, the dedicated millage increase will also enable the Fire Department to add another EMS unit when demand for emergency medical services exceeds current staffing. 

“This funding will help us keep our promise to maintain an average response time at or below 5 minutes and 20 seconds,” Fire Chief Brent Looman said. “We thank our community for approving this critical support for our department.”

The approved millage increase will support several police and fire initiatives, including:

  • Addressing critical personnel needs, enabling the Police Department to add, train and support vital additions to the team, raising its minimum staffing level from three officers and a sergeant to five officers and a sergeant.
  • Adding another EMS unit for the Fire Department in the future when the demand for emergency services exceeds current staffing. 
  • Funding the replacement of necessary police and fire vehicles and other equipment, which have seen significant cost increases in the past few years.
  • Creating a basic outdoor training facility for police and fire that will eliminate the need for travel expenses and overtime for training purposes, ensuring cost-effective and up-to-date training practices. 
  • Supporting increased simulation-based training for police and fire personnel, helping team members build essential skills so they can make informed decisions in real-time that protect community members, property and fellow emergency personnel.
  • Updating technology and equipment to protect police and fire team members and community members.
  • Enabling both police and fire to focus resources on prevention and education and be more proactive in addressing community issues. 

To learn more about the police and fire millage increase, visit For more on Kentwood’s Police and Fire departments, visit and