Learn the requirements to become a police officer in Arizona, as well as the hiring process, disqualification factors & jobs
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The first step to becoming a certified police officer in Arizona is actually finding a job and getting hired as a peace officer or reserve officer. Of course, that first step is not as simple as it sounds.
To be hired, candidates must meet a number of minimum standards, and not have any disqualifying conditions.
The minimum age to become a police officer is 21, but candidates may apply for a position if they are at least 20 years old.
All candidates must be citizens of the United States and, of course, of sound physical and mental health. A high school diploma or GED is required.
Prohibitions that will prevent hiring include having been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces. Beyond that candidates, within 36 months of applying for a position, must have fewer than eight driving violation points, no conviction for driving under the influence and must not have had a driver’s suspended or revoked.
Felony convictions disqualify candidates and misdemeanors convictions may be grounds for disqualification. Involvement with illegal substances including, but not limited to marijuana, other illegal narcotics and abusive use of prescription drugs, are disqualifying factors.
A complete and detailed list of standards to become a peace officer in Arizona can be found at www.azsos.gov/public_services/title_13/13-04.htm. The same site provides detailed information on requirements to be met to complete basic training at one of Arizona’s many training academies.
All new hires undergo this basic training. The agency doing the hiring will enroll the new officer in an academy of its choosing. There, the new hire will have to complete a minimum of 585 hours of training, complete all academy requirements and pass a final examination to be certified as an Arizona peace officer.
Academy instruction includes classroom, driving, and firearms training. The complete curriculum consists of xx function areas. These include: Basic Law Enforcement, Law and Legal Matters, Patrol Procedures, Traffic Control, Crime Scene Management, Community and Police Relations, Records and Report Writing, and Police Proficiency Skills.
This last area involves training first aid, physical conditional, conducting high-risk stops, defensive tactics, pursuit and vehicle operations.
Students are tested after each element topic area is completed, and must score at least 70 percent to receive a passing grade. Students who score lower can receive remedial training but they will only be permitted to be retested once.
In order to become an Arizona certified peace officer there are specific requirements that must be met. You may refer to the AZ POST Rules for full wording.
1)AZ POST Rule R13-4-103.E.1 states that No person may apply for certification as a peace officer unless and until appointed by an agency.
To begin the process of certification you must first seek employment with an Arizona law enforcement agency. If you are NOT appointed by a law enforcement agency you may not perform the duties of a peace officer in Arizona.
2) AZ POST Rule R13-4-105 provides the minimum standards that every one must meet in order to be a certified Arizona peace officer.
You must meet all these standards. Also, as stated in this rule, the agency will require that you undergo a background investigation, a medical examination and take a polygraph test. AZ POST staff will audit this documentation to ensure that you meet the qualifications for certification.
3) The agency will then send you to a basic police academy, which has a minimum of 585 hours of mandated training. When you have successfully completed the academy, you will receive certification as an Arizona peace officer.
An individual who holds certification in another state, has another option to become a certified peace officer in Arizona.
Items one and two above apply.
An agency may utilize the AZ POST waiver process rather than sending you through another academy. The agency will review your previous academy training, your years of experience and the amount of training you have completed to determine whether they meet the AZ POST standards. The agency will then contact AZ POST and an audit of your documentation and certification history will be completed. A date will be set for you to come to AZ POST to take the waiver examination. Upon successful completion of this test, AZ POST will issue the certification.
There are some basic training academies that offer courses for individuals who want to attend at their own expense and without becoming employed by a law enforcement agency.
You must meet the requirements of items one and two above.
Upon completion of one of these courses, you are not an Arizona certified peace officer. You MUST meet the requirement set forth in R13-4-103.E.1, and be appointed as a peace officer by an Arizona law enforcement agency in order to become certified.
After completion of an Open Enrollment Academy, you have a time frame of 18 months to become employed by an Arizona law enforcement agency.
A. Causes for denial, suspension, or revocation. The Board may deny, suspend, or revoke the certified status of a peace officer for:
1. Failure to satisfy a minimum qualification for appointment as set forth in Section R13-4-105;
2. Willfully providing false information in connection with obtaining or reactivating certified status;
3. A physical or mental disability which substantially impairs the person’s ability to perform the duties of a peace officer;
4. A violation of a restriction or requirement for certified status imposed pursuant to Section R13-4-109.1, R13-4-107(J), or R13-4-118(A)(1);
5. The unlawful use of narcotics or drugs;
6. Unauthorized use of or being under the influence of spirituous liquor on duty;
7. The commission of a felony, an offense which would be a felony if committed in this state, or an offense involving dishonesty, unlawful sexual conduct, or physical violence;
8. Malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office;
9. Any other conduct or pattern of conduct that would tend to disrupt, diminish, or otherwise jeopardize public trust in the law enforcement profession.
B. Cause for cancellation. The Board may cancel the certified status of a peace officer upon determining that the person was not qualified when certified status was granted.
C. Cause for mandatory revocation. Upon the receipt of a certified copy of the judgment of a felony conviction of a peace officer the Board shall revoke certified status.
D. Action by the Board. Upon receipt of a report that cause exists for the denial, cancellation, suspension, or revocation of the certified status of a peace officer, the Board shall determine the action to be taken regarding the retention of certified status. The Board may conduct additional inquiries or investigations in making its determination.
E. Notice of action. The Board shall notify the affected person of Board action to initiate proceedings regarding certified status for a cause listed under subsection (A) or (B). The notice shall be delivered by certified mail or personal delivery and specify the cause for the action. Within 15 days of delivery, the person named in the notice shall advise the Board or its staff in writing if a hearing is requested. Failure to file a written request for hearing at the Board offices within 15 days of delivery of the notice constitutes a waiver of the right to a hearing.
F. Effect of agency action. No action by an agency or decision resulting from an appeal of that action shall preclude action by the Board to deny, cancel, suspend, or revoke the certified status.
Required training for certified status. No peace officer shall receive certified status or be used as a peace officer until the individual has successfully completed basic training as follows:
1. A full authority peace officer shall complete the 585-hour basic peace officer course, specified in R13-4-116, at an academy.
2. A specialty officer shall complete a Board approved specialty officer basic course or the 585-hour basic peace officer course, specified in R13-4-116, at an academy.
3. A limited authority peace officer shall complete a Board approved limited authority peace officer basic course or the 585-hour basic peace officer course, specified in R13-4-116, at an academy.
4. A limited correctional peace officer shall complete the correctional service officer basic course specified in R13-4-205 and the 48-hour limited correctional peace officer supplement specified in R13-4-116, at the correctional officer training academy.
B. Exceptions. The training requirements in subsection (A) may be waived when using a peace officer:
1. During a riot, insurrection, disaster, or other event which has exhausted the manpower resources of an agency and the peace officer is attending an academy;
2. During an approved field training program which is a component of a basic training program at an academy, when the peace officer is under the direct supervision and control of a certified peace officer.
C. Firearms training required.
1. The firearms qualification course required in R13-4-113 shall, unless otherwise specified in this rule, be successfully completed prior to any peace officer carrying a firearm in the course of duty.
2. Prior to carrying a firearm in the course of duty, a limited correctional peace officer shall:
a. Meet the requirements of R13-4-207, and
b. Complete a night-time firearms qualification shoot based on the course of fire set forth in R13-4-207.
D. Waiver of basic training. A person whose certified status has lapsed or a person who has functioned in the capacity of a peace officer for another state or a federal law enforcement agency may apply to the Board for a waiver. The Board may grant a complete or partial waiver if:
1. An application is submitted by an agency on a form prescribed by the Board. Written verification of previous experience and training must accompany the application.
2. The applicant meets the minimum qualifications.
3. The applicant successfully completes an examination measuring the individual’s comprehension of the basic course as follows:
a. Persons who have at least two years of experience as a peace officer in another state or for a federal law enforcement agency during the last three years, and whose basic training and in-service training records demonstrate substantial comparability to Arizona’s basic course, shall be eligible to take an examination composed of legal and liability issues specific to Arizona.
b. Persons whose certification has lapsed shall take a comprehensive examination covering topical areas specified in Section R13-4-116(E)(1)(a).
c. Persons whose out-of-state experience does not meet the criteria of subsection (D)(3)(a), but whose basic training, in-service training, experience, and on-the-job training records demonstrate substantial comparability to the basic peace officer course shall take a comprehensive examination covering all of the topical areas specified in Section R13-4-116(E)(1)(a).
4. All applicants qualifying for a waiver test shall successfully perform practical demonstrations of proficiency in firearms, physical aptitude, defensive driving, and pursuit operations.