Job Description and Responsibilities of a Police Officer in Arizona

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.

Featured Programs and Schools Arizona

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 Training from Police Academy, Moderate on-the-job training
Key Skills Courage, Agility, Active Listening, Teamwork, Physical and Mental Strength, Empathy, Knowledge of Law, Community Awareness, Written and Oral Communication, Public Relations, Problem-Solving Skills, Staying Calm in Dangerous Situations, Critical Thinking, Strong Observation.
Annual Mean Salary – Arizona, AZ (2021) $68,060 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
Job Outlook – Arizona, AZ (2020-2030) 7% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)

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

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 2021 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, the overall employment of Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers is projected to grow by 7% in the country. The potential growth is estimated for the time between 2020 to 2030. O*Net Online has also projected 719,800 employees in the field by 2030.

Below are the states with the highest employment level in Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers:

State Employment 
California 70,050
Texas 60,440
New York 49,910
Florida 45,360
Illinois 30,640

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

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 become a police officer, no formal education is required; in fact, a high school diploma is sufficient in most US states. While an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or related field is rarely mandatory, it is being recommended now so that police officers can enjoy higher pay and better growth opportunities. Below are the necessary steps that will help you start a career in law enforcement.

  1. Basic Education & Meeting Minimum Criteria
  • Obtain high school diploma or GED.
  • For better advancement opportunities in the field, state police departments encourage candidates to pursue an associate’s degree in criminal justice or law. This can be a stepping stone for higher ranks and better jobs.
  • Candidates are required to pass background checks that include everything from being a US citizen to having a clean record with no previous charges.
  1. Pass Law Enforcement Exam
  • To be able to enter into the police training academy, applicants are required to take an entrance exam and obtain the passing score.
  1. Police Academy Training & Graduation
  • Upon entering the Police Academy Arizona, candidates are required to complete 720 hours of state mandated training.
  • The 26-week training program includes four modules – police strategy, weapons training, community collaboration and aide, and mental toughness.
  • During the course, candidates are trained in negotiation techniques, gaining civil rights knowledge, and communication strategy.
  • Candidates are also made part of real-life dangerous situations, gauging their response, and being trained on how to respond.
  1. Getting License & Start Working as Police Officer
  • After graduating from the police training academy, new recruits have to pass the licensing exam to start working in state department.
  • Arizona has its own license board and exam will be according to that.
  • Next step is to apply for a job and start working as a police officer.

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 7% increase in employment opportunities for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Arizona, AZ between 2020 and 2030. The corresponding national average for this occupation is 3% between 2021 and 2031. The projected employment for police officers in the state is 10,790 employees by 2030. Arizona offers many options for a diverse career path, internships, and volunteer programs. Some of the positions that the state hires for include:

  • Community Responder.
  • Records Specialist.
  • Communications Dispatcher.
  • Detention Officer.
  • Forensic Science Technician.
  • Records & Data Analyst.
  • Tactical Crime & Intel Analyst.

$68,060 is the annual mean salary of Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Arizona, AZ as per BLS in 2021. Police departments in Arizona also offer other perks like differential pay, overtime, a bilingual language bonus, and a special hiring bonus that increases the overall earning potential. 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: U.S. 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.