Trooper Shortage Puts Arizonans At Risk

February 24, 2024

By Daniel Stefanski |

The ranks of state law enforcement are becoming dangerously thin.

This month, the Arizona Troopers Association has been sounding the alarm about the number of vacancies at the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

According to a representative of the Association, “DPS is down approximately 500 troopers.”

The Association has been actively attempting to lobby lawmakers and the Governor’s Office to bring attention to this public safety issue. Earlier in February, President Jeff Hawkins posted a picture of his meeting with State Senator Frank Carroll, where they “discussed the issues that our members are dealing with.”

Hawkins also met with State Representative Hendrix to have “a frank conversation about how many vacancies the agency currently has and [the] dire need to fill them before the situation gets worse.”

Not only are the number of troopers at DPS understaffed, but the number of dispatchers are suffering as well.

Earlier this session, the Association expressed displeasure in the budget released by the state’s governor – particularly with the lack of attention to solving the crisis over DPS vacancies. The “X” account for the Arizona Troopers Association stated, “We are very disappointed Governor Hobbs’ budget won’t do anything to solve the looming crisis AZDPS faces. Historic vacancies are getting worse. Either we spend the money to get a fully staffed highway patrol or face public safety disasters in the future.”

The Arizona State Troopers Association endorsed a bill, SB 1175, that would “appropriate an unspecified amount from the state General Fund to the Department of Public Safety in FY 2025 to pay the cost of stand-by for peace officers employed by DPS.”

This bill easily passed the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, Public Safety and Border Security (6-1) and narrowly passed the Appropriations Committee (5-4 – with one member not voting).

On the Arizona Legislature’s Request to Speak system, representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police (Arizona State Lodge) and the Arizona Police Association indicated their support for the bill. There were no individuals or organizations signed in to oppose the proposal.

Senator David Gowan, a Republican, is the sponsor of SB 1175.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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