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Law Enforcement Careers in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) is an organizational structure that provides support and operational functions for the state’s highway and public safety, scientific analysis, criminal interdiction, and technical and operational support for other criminal justice agencies.

State Law Enforcement Agencies in Arizona

The DPS is divided up into the following four divisions:

  • Criminal Investigations Division
  • Director’s Office
  • Highway Patrol Division
  • Technical Services Division

The DPS has offices in more than 80 communities and cities in Arizona, as well as the 15 counties within the state. The DPS employs more than 2,100 full-time departmental employees, as well as 150 volunteers.

The DPS is in charge of a number of other task forces and programs within the state, as well:

  • Arizona Fusion Center
  • Arizona WANTED Task Force and Fugitives
  • Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE)
  • Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission
  • Illegal Immigration Preventing and Apprehension Co-op Team
  • Policia Internacional
  • Vehicle Theft Task Force

Highway Patrol Division

The Arizona Highway Patrol Division, which ensures the safe use of the state’s highway transportation system, also provides assistance to both local and county law enforcement agencies and oversees the air rescue and aviation services for the DPS.


The Arizona Highway Patrol Division is divided up into four bureaus based on location: North, South, Metro West, and Metro East. The Metro East Bureau is also the site of the Division’s Specialty Units, which include:

  • Canine District
  • Drug Interdiction
  • DUI Enforcement Squad
  • Motorcycle District
  • Photo Enforcement Program

Criminal Investigations Division (CID)

The Criminal Investigations Division (CID) provides services to the public and criminal justice community by deterring crime using investigative and enforcement strategies and resources. The primary investigative responsibilities of the CID include: narcotic trafficking, organized crime, fugitive apprehension, gangs, vehicle theft, human smuggling, and financial crimes. The CID is also responsible for protecting the Governor and providing tactical services to large-scale violence and disasters.

The groups within the CID include:

  • Gang Enforcement
  • General Investigations and Narcotics
  • Intelligence and Special Operations
  • Rocky Mountain Information Network

The Arizona Law Enforcement Academy (ALEA) provides all basic training for Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) candidates who want to achieve State Trooper jobs in Arizona. The ALEA also provides staffing and training support for multiple law enforcement agencies, including Police officer training in Arizona.

Municipal Police Departments in Arizona


The Phoenix Police Department includes more than 3,500 Police Officers and more than 700 support personnel. The Phoenix Police Department services more than 1.6 million residents and patrols about 516 square miles.

The Phoenix Police Department is divided up into the following precincts:

  • Black Mountain Precinct
  • Cactus Park Precinct
  • Central City Precinct
  • Desert Horizon Precinct
  • Estrella Mountain Precinct
  • Maryvale Precinct
  • Mountain View Precinct
  • South Mountain Precinct

Police Officer training in Phoenix includes completing an application for employment, passing a physical agility test, and passing a background investigation. Once the candidate has completed the initial phase and has been given an interview with the police department, the second phase of Police Officer training in Phoenix includes a polygraph examination, a psychological test, a medical examination, and a controlled substance screening.


The Tucson Police Department, which has 1,532 employees and a budget of $24 million (as of FY2009), is divided into five patrol divisions (which are further divided into sectors):

  • Operations Division Downtown
  • Operations Division East
  • Operations Division Midtown
  • Operations Division South
  • Operations Division West

All candidates for Police Officer training in Tucson must be at least 21 years of age and a U.S. citizen. Police officer jobs in Tucson require candidates to have a high school diploma or a GED, no felony convictions, and no DUI convictions within the last three years. All candidates must also pass a pre-employment medical examination.


The Mesa Police Department is divided up into four districts, including:

  • Central District
  • Dobson District
  • Red Mountain District
  • Superstition District

The Mesa Police Department has a number of minimum requirements that must be met for Police Officer jobs in Mesa and Police Officer training in Mesa:

  • United States citizen
  • At least 21 years of age
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Background investigation
  • Medical examination

In addition, candidates with bilingual skills and college-level courses in criminology are preferred for Police Officer jobs in Mesa.


The Glendale Police Department, which has 394 Police Officers, 138 civilian employees and serves more than 226,000 residents, has three stations strategically located throughout Glendale: Main/Downtown Station; Foothills Station; and Gateway Station.

The Glendale Police Department is also broken down into the following Divisions/Squads:

  • Communications Division
  • Traffic Division
  • Victim Assistance
  • Graffiti Busters
  • Criminal Investigations Division
  • Recruitment and Careers

Candidates for Police Officer Jobs in Mesa must complete an Arizona certified law enforcement academy for 18 weeks and then complete a field training program. However, Police Officer training in Mesa cannot commence until a number of minimum requirements are met:

  • Must be a high school graduate or equivalent
  • Must be of sound physical and mental health
  • Must have no felony convictions
  • Must pass a thorough background investigation and polygraph examination
  • Must be at least 21 years of age (at the time of graduation from the law enforcement academy)
  • Must have an Arizona Class D operator’s license


County Sheriff’s Departments in Arizona

Maricopa County 

The Maricopa County’s Sheriff Office patrols an area of 9,200 square miles and includes seven districts. Candidates for Deputy Sheriff jobs in Maricopa County must be at least 21 years of age; must be a U.S. citizen; must have a high school diploma or GED; must have no felony convictions; must have no misdemeanor convictions within the last three years; and must have not been dishonorably discharged from the armed services.

Pima County

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department requires that all candidates for Sheriff’s Deputy jobs in Pima County must be at least 21 years old; must have a high school diploma or GED; must be a United States citizen; must have no felony convictions; must have not used narcotics or dangerous drugs in the past 7 years; and must not have used marijuana within the last 3 years.

Pinal County

All individuals interested in Deputy Sheriff jobs in Pinal County must meet specific requirements before Deputy Sheriff training in Pinal County can take place. All individuals must have a high school diploma or GED; they must be at least 21 years of age; and they must successful complete a written exam, a psychological exam, a polygraph test, a physical or stress test, and a background exam.

Arizona Law Enforcement Salaries

The 2012-2013 Edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook released by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, identified the following median Arizona law enforcement salaries during 2010:

  • Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $59,870
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $73,400
  • Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $85,410

Salaries among Detectives and Criminal Investigators in Arizona

Area name
Annual mean wage
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
Yuma AZ
North Arizona nonmetropolitan area
Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area

Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in Arizona

The largest sheriff’s office in Arizona is Maricopa County with nearly 800 sworn officers. In Maricopa County, a deputy sheriff during the training period averages $41,724. After academy training has been completed, the salary increases to $44,304. However, salary is also increased with experience and promotion as can be seen here:

  • Deputy Sheriff: $44,304 to $63,003
  • Sergeant: $61,547 to $78,707
  • Lieutenant: $72,945 to $97,968
  • Captain: $90,209 to $113,859

Furthermore, the Mesa Police Department offers a starting salary for lateral police officers, which are those with previous law enforcement experience, of $50,960. Through experience and promotion, the salary for police officers in Mesa caps out at $72,862.

Salaries among Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers Arizona

Area name
Annual mean wage
Flagstaff AZ
Estimate Not Released
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
Prescott AZ
Yuma AZ
North Arizona nonmetropolitan area
Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area

State Trooper Salary in Arizona

The average state trooper salary in Arizona can be found by looking at the job classifications outlined by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The salary of a cadet officer, which is an officer in training, is $38,335. For a trained officer/state trooper, the entry-level salary is $44,724, midpoint salary $53,692, and maximum salary $62,660. The Arizona Department of Public Safety also provides the following salary information for advanced law enforcement titles:

  • Sergeant I: $68,926
  • Sergeant II: $78,335
  • Captain: $100,721
  • Major: $112,016

Salaries among Police Supervisors and Detectives in Arizona

Area name
Annual mean wage
Flagstaff, AZ
Lake Havasu City - Kingman AZ
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
Prescott AZ
Tucson AZ
Yuma AZ
North Arizona nonmetropolitan area
Southeast Arizona nonmetropolitan area

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