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How to Become a Police Officer in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona is the most populous state capitol in the United States, with over 1.4 million people.1 A higher population is often linked to higher crime rates, which often creates the need for more law enforcement in a city.

Prospective police officers for the Phoenix Police Department must meet a number of requirements, and the selection process can be lengthy as well as competitive. The process for becoming a Phoenix police officer is detailed below.

Phoenix Police Officer Requirements

The minimum requirements to become a cop at the PPD include an age requirement. Candidates must be at least 20.5 years old at the time of application and reach the age of 21 prior to completing the academy training. In addition to being a US citizen, prospective Phoenix police officers should also have no prior felonies. Educational requirements for Phoenix cops include having a high school diploma or GED equivalency.

People who wish to work in law enforcement in the city of Phoenix must first submit an application online. Only qualified applicants will be invited to take a written test of 169 multiple-choice questions, which will be administered on predetermined days and times. After passing the written test, cop candidates will then be tested on their physical agility. They will also be subject to a background test, a polygraph test, psychological and medical examinations, as well as a drug test.

For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If you are ready to apply, find specific application information on the Phoenix Police Department Application Process page.

The Chief of Police for the Phoenix Police Department is Jeri Williams. Chief Williams was appointed in October 2016 and was a Phoenix officer for 22 years before serving as Police Chief for the City of Oxnard, California between 2011 and 2016. In 2016, she was recognized as California Assembly District 44 Woman of the Year for her leadership and outstanding accomplishments leading the Oxnard Police Department. Also in 2016, Chief Williams was named by President Obama to serve on the Medal of Valor Review Board. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Arts from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in education from Northern Arizona University.

Phoenix Police Department Information

Since Phoenix is the sixth-largest city in the US, the Phoenix Police Department is also large, employing around 3,000 police officers and 1,000 civilian employees.1 The PPD employs approximately two police officers for every 1,000 people in the general population.1

The city’s police department is divided into seven precincts, and within those, 19 squad districts. The Phoenix Police Department has an operating budget of $580 million dollars.1

Phoenix Police Training Academy

Candidates who enter the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy (ALEA) as Phoenix officer recruits are paid employees of the PPD. Recruits are not required to live at the academy, nor do they have to pay for the training. Prospective cops attend classes Monday through Friday, for 8.5 hours each day. The academy lasts for 20 weeks. Once a candidate successfully graduates from the academy, he or she is promoted to the rank of police officer. New officers then attend an additional four weeks of training designed to familiarize them with the PPD’s specific procedures and equipment.

Phoenix Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

The annual salary for a police officer in Phoenix varies according to experience and education. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cops in Phoenix made an average salary of $62,720 in 2013.2 The PPD’s own website reports that prospective officers entering the Academy can expect an annual salary of $47,798, while those who graduate from the Academy can anticipate a starting salary of around $51,480.1

Police officers at the PPD can also expect to see benefits in addition to their annual salaries, including incentive pay for bilingual ability and years of service, an education reimbursement, as well as paid vacation and personal leave.

Employment opportunities for cops in Arizona appear promising. Long-term, law enforcement jobs are expected to increase by about 7%, meaning that an average of about 460 patrol officer jobs will become available each year through 2022.3

For more information on current PPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.

More Information on the Phoenix Police Department and Crime

The PPD is dedicated to serving the people of Phoenix with a focus on community engagement. The department continually works to earn the trust and respect of Phoenix residents through its community policing efforts, which include teams to support outreach and community participation. The Phoenix Police Department also offers a Citizen Police Academy for citizens of Phoenix who would like to learn what cops at the PPD do and how they protect the city against crime.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phoenixazpolice
Twitter: @phoenixpolice

Police & Public Safety Building
620 West Washington St
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 262-6747

Additional Resources

References:
1. The City of Phoenix: https://www.phoenix.gov/
2. Bureau of Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_38060.htm
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm