JANUARY 29, 2014

Arizona Highway Patrol Association encouraging legislature to address Department of Public Safety’s competitiveness in their budgets

Educational campaign informs the public of Arizona’s state police agency issues
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ARIZONA – The Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) embarked on an educational campaign today to inform the public and state legislators about the need to adequately fund the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) and its employees.  DPS employees are encouraging Arizona’s lawmakers to address the agency’s ability to stay competitive with other police departments.

“The message from many of our elected officials has been that public safety is government’s primary responsibility,” states Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, president of the AHPA.  “In order for DPS to carry out its core mission, along with mandated responsibilities to keep our citizens safe, we need to recruit and retain the most qualified people.”

AHPA feels the dangerous and unique profession of law enforcement requires sufficient funding.  For example, DPS is experiencing a significant gap between what the agency’s employees are paid as compared to other Arizona law enforcement agencies and relevant private employers throughout the state. According to the DPS 2013 pay study, sworn employee compensation lags behind the market 23.3 percent on average and civilian employee compensation behind an average 22.6 percent. The impact of not addressing a competitive pay package for DPS employees will impact the department’s ability to recruit and retain the most highly qualified employees who are entrusted to protect and serve the citizens of Arizona.  AHPA has paid independently for competitiveness studies since 2008, each echoing closely to DPS’ study findings.  This year, DPS requested a 4 percent pay increase for every employee from the Governor’s Office.  The AHPA submitted the following proposal to the Governor Janice Brewer, allowing to agency to be more comprehensive solution:

AHPA’s DPS Competitiveness Package Proposal
Total Cost over 3 Years:
Sworn Officer Pay Adjustment $27.3M
Civilian Employee Pay Adjustment 10.8M
Total Cost of Adjustment in Pay $38.1M

DPS enacted a hiring freeze in 2008, currently leaving the agency down 169 police officers and 65 civilian positions.  According to DPS, the agency is expecting 104 officer retirements between now and the end of 2016.  “Between our current shortage of employees and the knowledge that other police departments will begin or continue to hire more people, it is essential the legislature help us address DPS’ competitiveness,” adds Chavez.

The grassroots campaign, entitled “We are DPS,” demonstrates from a police employee’s perspective the need to address DPS’ ability to stay competitive with other law enforcement agencies.  With AHPA’s guidance and assistance, DPS employees, their families and friends, are contacting their elected officials explaining the need for adequate funding to DPS for competitive employee compensation.  “We are DPS” has successfully been used in the past by the Association in order to help educate people about the exceptionality of police work and the issues they face.

AHPA’s pay studies and statistics can be found on their website at www.AHPA.com.  To schedule an interview with Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, President of AHPA, please contact Stacey (Dillon) Krueger at 480-225-4809 or email [email protected].  Tucson interviews can be accommodated.

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