Job Description and Responsibilities of a Police Officer

The main job of a police officer is to ensure that law is being followed and assistance is being provided during emergencies. A police officer is required to protect life and property, treat public with respect, and reduce crime in the state of Arizona. Police officers are likely to face dangerous situations on daily basis, so it’s important for them to exercise independent and sound judgement. Depending on the assignment, police officers in Arizona, AZ may perform specialized tasks or perform routine law enforcement and patrol duties. All duties performed by police officers in Arizona require compliance with the city and department policies and procedures.

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According to the latest figures published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12,740 police and sheriff’s patrol officers were working in Arizona in 2021.

Requirements to Become a Police Officer in Arizona

Educational Requirements High school diploma or equivalent
Experience/Training Attend Training Academy, Moderate on-the-job training
Key Skills Assertiveness, Quick Thinker, Teamwork, Morality, Courage, Attention to detail, Negotiation skills.
Annual Mean Salary – Arizona, AZ (2021) $68,060 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
Job Outlook – Arizona, AZ (2018-2028) 2% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online

The requirements to become a police officer in Arizona are set by the Arizona Peace Offerings Standards and Training (POST) Board. These general requirements are applicable to all police officers in the state. Additional stipulations may be added to these standards by individual police departments. For instance, while the general standard set by POST may only require high school education, some police departments may require at least an associate degree or higher. Let’s take a look at these requirements:
Age, Nationality and Education
Candidates applying to become police officers in Arizona must meet the following requirements. They should:

  • Be US citizens
  • Have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent
  • At least be 21 years of age when they graduate from the police academy
  • Have a valid driver’s license for Arizona
  • Not have any felony convictions
How to Become a Police Officer in Arizona?
How to Become a Police Officer in Arizona

Required Examinations

Required Examinations

Some of the requirements set by POST include:

  • Passing physical examination.
  • Passing a fitness test.
  • Clearing a written exam where it’s important to obtain an average of 75% or above.
  • Clear drug screening.
  • Pass a polygraph test.
  • Clear background as well as psychological evaluation.

Police Departments in Arizona

There are several police departments in the state of Arizona. Let’s take a detailed look at a few of them.
Phoenix: Phoenix is the 5th largest city in the United Statesand its population of over one million is served by nearly 3,000 officers and 1,000 support personnel at the Phoenix Police Department. The Phoenix Police Department is the largest PD in the State of Arizona and has a budget of $600 million. It has six divisions and 23 bureaus in total. The current Police Chief is Jeri Williams, who was appointed in October 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Arizona State University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Arizona University.

Mesa: The Mesa Police Department (MPD) is responsible for the safekeeping of the third largest city in Arizona and the 38th largest in the country. It has more than 50 units and 4 substations (Fiesta Police Division, Central Police Division, Superstition Police Division and Red Mountain Police Division). The current chief at the Mesa Police Department is Chief Ramon Batista, who was appointed to this position in July 2017. He has multiple years of experience and has also served at the Tucson Police Department.

Tucson: The Tucson Police Department offers a great job variety and opportunities for growth to new police recruits. The mission of the department is based on its seven core values, which are excellence, integrity, leadership, fairness, teamwork, personal responsibility and service orientation. The current Chief of Police is Chris Magnus, who has previously served in Lansing and in Richmond, California. He was appointed as the police chief in January of 2016. He has a Master’s Degree in Labor Relations along with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the Michigan State University.

Job Outlook for Police Officers in Arizona

According to May 2016 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona currently has 11,550 Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers employed in the state, with an annual mean wage of $62,470. The mean wage within the state varies according to area. The following bar chart shows different areas and their respective mean salaries. The key below is applicable to both bar charts.

  1. KEY
  2. Code Location
  3. A Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale
  4. B Arizona Non-Metropolitan Area
  5. C Flagstaff
  6. D Tucson, Arizona
  7. E Sierra Vista – Douglas
  8. F Lake Havasu city-Kingman
  9. G Yuma

The following bar graph depicts the number of police and sheriff’s patrol officers employed in different areas, with the highest employment being in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area and the lowest being in Sierra Vista – Douglas.

Police Training Academies in Arizona

If you have met all the requirements and successfully passed the necessary exams, you will have to then complete a training program at one of the following police training academies in the state.

  • Arizona Law Enforcement Agency – Phoenix, AZ
  • Mesa Police Department Training Academy – Mesa, AZ
  • Pima County Sheriff’s Department – Tucson, AZ
  • Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center – Tucson, AZ
  • Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy – Phoenix, AZ
  • Arizona Correctional Officer Training Academy – Phoenix, AZ
  • Western Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center – Lake Havasu City, AZ

Police officers in Arizona put in all their efforts to protect the nearly 6.7 million citizens of the state. These officers fight crime and work hard to maintain law and order in the various communities of the state. If you are an aspiring police officer in the state of Arizona, there are a lot of great career opportunities for you here. So keep yourself updated and don’t miss out on them.

How to start working on becoming an Arizona police officer?

To start working as an Arizona police officer, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • Meet the minimum educational requirements.
  • Apply for the job.
  • Pass a strict hiring process.
  • Complete police academy training.
  • Have to be at least 18 years old at the time of applying for the job.
  • Should be not more than 21 years old when you graduate from the police academy.
  • Should have a valid state driver’s license.
  • Should have a clean criminal record.

Duration to Become a Police Officer in Arizona

After combining associate degree or bachelor’s degree program with police academy training and hiring process, it takes from two to five years to become a police officer in Arizona. Candidates are required to complete 720 hours of mandatory peace officer certification training, and this can take around 9 months.

Salary of Police Officers in Arizona

O*Net Online forecasts a 2% increase in employment opportunities for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Arizona, AZ between 2018 and 2028. The corresponding national average for this occupation is 7% between 2018 and 2030. $68,060 is the annual mean salary of Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Arizona, AZ as per BLS in 2021. Below are the top 5 highest paying states for this occupation in the US in 2021.

State Annual Mean Wage
California $102,920
Washington $92,390
New Jersey $91,690
Alaska $87,510
Illinois $82,800

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)


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Frequently Ask Question

Question: If I want to become a police officer in Arizona, what are the different departments I can work in?

Answer: You have the option to join different departments if you want to become a police officer in Arizona. The requirements may vary according to different department so, please make sure to check all the requirements in detail before joining the department of your choice.