How to Become a Police Officer in Tucson

Tucson is a unique city with a number of attractions that draw in tourists and new residents alike. It is situated in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by several mountain ranges. The population of the city is 520,116, which includes thousands of students at the University of Arizona. Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix, and is served by the dedicated officers of the Tucson Police Department (TPD). The process for joining the force and becoming a Tucson police officer is detailed below.

Tucson Police Officer Requirements

The TPD is always looking for the best candidates to join the force and new cops. The minimum requirements for applying include US citizenship, a minimum age of 21, and a high school diploma or GED. The TPD also requires that new recruits have no felony convictions, have not had a DUI within the past three years, have never been dishonorably discharged from the military, and can pass a pre-employment medical examination.

To be considered for a position with the department, qualified candidates begin the hiring process by filling out an online application. Those candidates who are selected from the application process will then undergo several tests and examinations. These include a written test, a physical fitness test, a background investigation, an oral interview, a psychological assessment, and a medical and drug screening test. The TPD has a separate process for candidates who have served with the military as a law enforcement officer.

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 Tucson Police Department careers portal.

The current Chief of Police for the TPD is Roberto Villasenor. He is a native of Tucson and joined the Department in 1980. He became the Assistant Chief in 2003 and was promoted to Chief in 2009. Villasenor worked in several departments within the TPD throughout his career and trained at the FBI National Academy.

Tucson Police Department Information

The TPD has been around since 1871 when just one Marshall was responsible for the small, but growing western town. Today the Department serves half a million residents with 1,000 sworn law enforcement officers and 300 civilian employees.1 The TPD prides itself on being staffed with a diverse force of officers, including over 100 women officers, that represents the city as a whole.

Tucson Police Training Academy

Those candidates applying to the TPD who are accepted and offered employment must complete basic training at the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center. The program includes 17 weeks of curriculum and recruit officers may stay in the dormitories on campus, but are not required to do so. Training includes a variety of skills needed to perform the job of a police officer, including firearm use, police driving, patrol procedures, physical fitness, and much more.

Tucson Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

The annual starting salary for a new officer with the TPD is $45,968.1 New recruits are also paid a smaller salary during basic training. With the given salary, and opportunities for advancement, an officer can live well in Tucson, as the cost of living is 8.5% lower than the national average.2 The average annual salary for an officer in Tucson is $56,220.3

The future growth in law enforcement jobs in Arizona is expected to be positive. Projections suggest that between now and 2022, the growth in this field will be 7.2%4 Each year, on average, should see 460 new jobs opening up, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for new candidates hoping to join the TPD and other law enforcement agencies in the state.4 For more information on current TPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.

More Information on the Tucson Police Department and Crime

To help residents better understand the TPD and what officers do to protect and serve the people of the city, the Department runs a Citizen Police Academy. There are two 12-week sessions offered each year. The TPD also offers a Safe Teen Accident Reduction Training (START). This is a teen driver class open to anyone between the ages of 16 to 18 years old.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TucsonPoliceDepartment?fref=nf
Twitter: @Tucson_Police

Tucson Police Department
1310 W Miracle Mile
Tucson, AZ 85705

Additional Resources

1. Tucson Police Department: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police
2. Sperling’s Best Places, Tucson, Arizona: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/arizona/tucson
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Tucson, AZ: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_46060.htm#33-0000
4. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm