Arizona Law Enforcement Agencies Look To School Partnerships To Help Fill Vacancies
Several city and state-based law enforcement agencies say filling sworn officer vacancies has become a top priority. Part of that effort involves new partnerships with high schools and colleges.
Officials say the two biggest limiting factors that keep people from law enforcement ranks are drug use and unethical behavior.
Jeri Williams, chief of the Phoenix Police Department, said the goal of programs like student public-safety academies is to catch people’s attention early before some of those temptations set in. She added that way when they turn 21, which is the minimum age requirement for sworn officers, they’ll be more likely to qualify.
"When we can catch someone at the high school age or maybe a little bit before that’s really where we’ll be able to see our numbers increase and grow," Williams said.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety has 185 sworn officer vacancies, the Phoenix Police Department reports 369 open positions, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says it has 43 open sworn officer positions.