How to Become a Police Officer in Mesa
Mesa is a large suburb of Phoenix, Arizona and a major urban center in its own right with a population of over 470,000 people; in fact, it is the 36th largest city in the US and the third largest in Arizona.1,3 With a large and growing population, which includes students from the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University, Mesa needs to have a sizable police force. The Mesa Police Department (MPD) is the agency dedicated to serving and protecting the residents of the city. To perform its mission, the MPD employs 757 sworn officers as well as 455 civilian support staff.2 The process for becoming a cop with the MPD is outlined below.
Mesa Police Officer Requirements
Each candidate for the Mesa PD must meet certain minimum requirements as set by Arizona’s Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission and the MPD before being invited to start the process of applying. To qualify, applicants must:
- Be a minimum age of 21 by the end of basic training
- Hold US citizenship
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Possess a valid Arizona driver’s license
- Have 20/20 vision or up to 20/80 uncorrected with 20/20 wearing corrective lenses
- Be free of any felony convictions or convictions for disqualifying misdemeanors
- Meet the department’s stringent standards for past drug use and involvement, including the use of marijuana
The prescreening during the initial application will ensure that applicants meet the minimum requirements. The next step for qualified applicants is a physical fitness test and then a written test. Those with acceptable scores move on to the selection interview with at least three department officers, followed by an extensive background investigation that includes a polygraph examination. Finally, the candidate is interviewed by the human resources hiring board and if accepted, offered employment contingent on being able to pass psychological and medical testing. Successful recruits move on to the Mesa Basic Academy.
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 Mesa Police Department Jobs page.
Mesa Basic Academy
New recruits must complete the Basic Academy police training program administered by the MPD Training Section, which is held at the Public Safety Training Facility in Mesa. The curriculum for basic training is based on the standards set by Arizona’s POST Commission and includes both classwork and hands-on training. The training encompasses police proficiency skills including tactical driving, firearms training, and communication skills. Candidates who pass the program are eligible to be certified through POST after passing the state POST exam. Recruits who pass the exam are ready to be sworn in as officers with the MPD.
Mesa Police Department Information
The Mesa Police Department is a large police force that represents the diversity of the community it serves. In addition to four patrol divisions, the department has many special divisions to better provide protection and service to the public. These include the airport unit, the criminal investigations unit, the pawn shop detail, the K-9 unit, and many other specialty units.
Residents of Mesa who are interested in learning more about the police department and what officers do can join the Citizen Police Academy. The academy is open to residents and people working in the city who are at least 19 years old. Students of the academy learn about the department’s role in the community and get a hands-on look at what officers do each day through instruction led by veterans of the city’s police force.
Department Contact Information
Mesa Police Salary and Jobs Outlook
The MPD offers new recruits a starting salary of $56,534, which can rise to a top salary of $79,789 after years of service.2 Officers also receive health and life insurance benefits, a uniform allowance and equipment reimbursements, and can qualify for tuition reimbursement. The MPD also offers incentive pay including shift differentials, overtime, and bilingual compensation. Officers are eligible to retire after 25 years of service through the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS). The average annual salary for an officer in the Mesa and Phoenix metro area is $69,370.3
The salary is just one reason hopeful new law enforcement officers might choose Mesa for employment. Growth in employment of law enforcement officers in Arizona is expected to continue on a positive trend, with more jobs opening up every year. The growth through 2026 is expected to reach 6.9% with an average of 60 new positions added statewide each year.4 For more information on current MPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.
- Mesa Police Association – The Mesa Police Association advocates for better police benefits and working conditions and provides services including legal coverage to members.
- Mesa Fraternal Order of Police – The Mesa Fraternal Order of Police is the local bargaining unit for police officers and also offers legal, insurance, and death benefits to members.
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Mesa, Arizona: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/arizona/mesa
2. Mesa Police Department: https://www.mesaaz.gov/residents/police
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_38060.htm#33-0000
4. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm