AZ DPS

Questions (Reserve Officers)

 

 

What is a Sworn Reserve Officer?
The Arizona Department of Public Safety offers a challenging opportunity to men and women desiring to become a volunteer Sworn Reserve Officer with the Department. Sworn Reserve Officers perform a valued service in a wide range of activities dedicated to protecting the lives and property of Arizona's citizens. 

DPS Sworn Reserve Officers have all the same duties, responsibilities and authority of a full-time DPS Officer except Sworn Reserves are not compensated (paid) for their service.  Some of the Department’s Sworn Reserve Officers will eventually transition to full-time positions within the Department, while others very much enjoy the flexibility of volunteering their time on patrol while maintaining their own outside full-time, non-law enforcement employment.  Yet others are retired from a law enforcement, non-law enforcement or a military career and are looking for another challenge.

What are the minimum qualifications to be a Sworn Reserve Officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (the Department)?
The minimum requirements (additional selection criteria will also be applied during the testing process) to become a Sworn Reserve Officer (uncompensated volunteer) are the same as those for a full-time Officer.  They are as follows:
Must possess a valid drivers license (ALL NEWLY APPOINTED SWORN RESERVE OFFICERS/CADETS MUST POSSESS A VALID STATE OF ARIZONA DRIVERS LICENSE BEFORE STARTING THEIR RESPECTIVE TRAINING).

  • Must be 21 years of age prior to graduation from the academy.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be a high school graduate, or have completed a G.E.D.
  • No felony convictions.
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the United States military.

What is the selection process for a Sworn Reserve Cadet Officer?
The process to become a Sworn Reserve Cadet Officer (uncompensated volunteer) is the same as for a full-time (compensated) Cadet Officer.  The process is as follows:

The selection process is set-up in two phases. The first phase consists of a physical fitness (PT) test, written test and a Qualifications Appraisal Board [QAB] examination.

*Applicants must pass each step in the process to move forward. Applicants must pass the PT, written and QAB examinations in succession. If any applicant fails any portion of phase one, they must restart at the very beginning of the process. There will be no re-do's of individual components of phase one, they all must be passed in succession.*

Upon successful completion of phase one, candidates are scheduled for phase two testing which consists of a background investigation, polygraph, psychological, and medical examinations as well as a pre-employment drug examination.

What is the selection process for in-state (Arizona Post Certified Officers) laterals who want to become a Sworn Reserve Officer with the Department?
The selection process for AZ POST certified, full-authority peace officers is the same as the Sworn Reserve Cadet Officers with the exception of the written examination.  AZ POST full-authority officer applicants are not required to take the written examination.

Special note for Sworn Reserve Lateral Officer applicants:
The Arizona Department of Public Safety DOES NOT allow its Officers (full-time or reserve) to have separate, full-authority peace officer employment/sponsorship, either compensated or non-compensated, with any other law enforcement agency either in or outside the State of Arizona.

What are the requirements to be processed as an in-state lateral Sworn Reserve Officer?
The applicant, at a minimum, must be an AZ POST certified full-authority peace officer who has graduated from an AZ POST approved basic training academy within the last 18 months or has been employed as a full-authority peace officer within the last 18 months (from when the DPS application was submitted).

Any Lateral Sworn Reserve Officer applicant who has not been employed as a full-authority peace officer within the last 18 months must apply as a Cadet Officer and must go through the peace officer certification waiver process administered by AZ POST.

How long does the selection process take?
Every attempt will be made to process you in a timely and efficient manner, usually within 12 to 16 weeks from when you start phase one testing.  However, every applicant's circumstances and backgrounds are different and these time elements can change on a case-by-case basis.

When do I take the physical fitness test (PT)?
The physical fitness test is administered as the first step of phase one and is a prerequisite to the written examination (unless you are already an AZ POST Certified Officer).  There is no limit on how many times an applicant can take the PT test, however the test must be taken during a scheduled PT test.

It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED the applicant come to the PT test having already tested themselves using the protocol provided in the application packet and have met or exceeded the requirements.  The most undesirable thing an applicant can do is to attend testing and not be able to meet or exceed the requirements to pass.

What if I don’t pass the PT test?
Applicants must pass all events of the PT test. If you do not pass any portion, you must wait until the next scheduled PT test to re-take the entire test over again. Please contact HR at 602.223.2290 to reschedule.
 
You must pass the PT test to move on to the written test.  Please remember, even if you pass the PT test and fail either the written or QAB, you MUST restart the process and again pass the PT test.

How should I dress for the PT test?
A t-shirt or sweat shirt, shorts or sweat pants, moisture wicking socks (preferable not all cotton) and running or cross-training shoes are wise choices. Avoid wearing pants or jean shorts. Plan to secure your personal belongings in your vehicle if you don’t plan on carrying them in your pocket. Headphones/iPods, MP3 Players and other similar electronic devices are not allowed during testing.

If your running shoes are more than two years old or you have walked/ran more than 200 miles in them, it is advised you replace them. However, wearing brand new running shoes to the PT test is not suggested. You should break them in for at least five miles before you wear them to a PT test or starting the academy.

The PT test does not seem too difficult. Do I need to be in shape to pass?
You must be able to meet the physical fitness standards established by the Department for applicants. These standards are at the remedial basic training academy level so being able to just meet these standards places the applicant at a distinct disadvantage. You are expected to SIGNIFICANTLY improve in all of the physical fitness testing standards before and during the basic training academy.

Physical Conditioning (PC) is an integral part of academy training. You can expect a regular regiment of short and long distance running/sprinting [aerobic] and strength training exercise [anaerobic] to include, but not limited to, push-ups, sit-ups and weight training. Cadets are also expected to be able run at approximately a ten minute per mile pace for at least three miles almost immediately upon starting their basic academy training. You will be challenged physically while at the academy, no matter what your condition is upon entering the academy, and improvements are expected by the academy staff.

The extended basic training academies typically attended by Sworn Reserve Officer Cadets conduct their PT sessions for approximately one hour, one day a week.  Clearly, you must be exercising on your own time in order to make the improvements the academy expects.  These hour long sessions are mainly in place to assess the improvements the cadet has made on their own time.  Do not expect these sessions to get you into shape alone.  You must be resting, exercising and eating properly on your own.

What can I do to prepare myself for the PT test?
The first thing you should do is to consult your physician before you begin any strenuous physical training program. Provide them the PT standards you will be expected to meet. Once you have done that, carefully read over the test protocol so you understand completely what each test consists of. Then, practice each exercise to see where you stand. If you are able to exceed the standards, great; let it serve as a positive mental boost for you going into our testing, keeping in mind, however, you will be challenged physically upon entering the academy.

You also need to take into consideration your overall body weight as it relates to the percentage of body fat you have.  Generally speaking, if your body is comprised of more than 25% to 30% body fat, you are usually considered obese.  If you find yourself in this category, you stand a high risk of not being able to meet the standards of the academy and your chances of success are severely diminished.  Generally, cadets who are either borderline obese or are obese do not start the academy at a level where they can improve at a realistic level and meet the fitness standards of the academy.  This places the cadet at a major disadvantage.  Neither the Department nor the academies want cadets attending the academy with such a disadvantage. 

If you are not able to meet our PT standards prior to coming out to our test, please seriously consider calling HR to reschedule the PT test since it is a pass/fail event. If you find yourself in that position, identify your weakness(es) and work on them. Consult a personal trainer or look online for exercise routines/suggestions to improve the areas you need to improve.

DRINK PLENTY OF WATER BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER ANY EXERCISE. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER WHENEVER YOU EXERCISE!

We also strongly suggest you read the "Basic Training Academy Physical Fitness Guide For Cadet Officer”.  Click here to download (pdf).

Are there any study materials to help prepare for the written exam?
There is nothing specifically designed for our written exam. It is a general knowledge exam which covers the areas of reading comprehension, math, memorization, logic, and reasoning. There are companies who have developed study guides to help people study and prepare for the ASVAB, GED, SAT, LSAT, GRE, Police Officer Exam, and Civilian Service Exam, which one can purchase at bookstores, checkout from their local public library or access online. These books do not specifically address our written exam, but they may help one become a better test taker.

What is on the written exam?
The written exam is a 100 question, multiple-choice, general aptitude exam that is equivalent to test levels encountered during high school. There are questions in the areas of reading comprehension, vocabulary, logic and reasoning, math skills (applicants should bring a calculator), and memorization exercises. Applicants are allowed 2.5 hours to complete the exam and must pass with a score of 75% or better (Arizona In-State [AZPOST certified] Lateral Officers are waived from the written examination).

How will I know if I passed the written exam?
The written test is scored immediately upon completion and the applicant will know before they leave if they have passed or not.  You must pass the written exam to move on to the QAB/Oral Interview. 

How should I dress for the written test?
You should dress in casual, comfortable clothing. However, do not wear anything offensive or inappropriate. There are numerous times when the written test will be administered immediately after the physical fitness test and you will be asked to travel directly to the written test site in your PT clothes. This is acceptable if we instruct you to do so. However, if there is a reasonable amount of time beforehand, you are expected to change your clothes prior to the written test. So make sure to bring along comfortable/casual clothes so you are able to change.

What is the Qualifications Appraisal Board (QAB)?
The QAB is the last step of phase one and is the interview portion of testing. The applicant is scored in a number of areas by the members of the board/panel. The members of the board usually consists of two Officers/Detectives and a Sergeant or above. Areas to be scored include, but are not limited to, appearance, communication skills, knowledge of the Department and functions of an Officer, decision making, critical thinking skills and an oral resume as it relates to the position being applied for.

How should I dress for the Qualification Appraisal Board?
This is a professional interview. Conservative, professional business attire is appropriate. For men, this would include a long sleeve shirt and tie (a suit jacket is recommended), dress pants and conservative dress shoes.  For women, this would include an appropriate suit or dress/skirt with appropriate shoes.  You should dress to impress.

What if I have taken the test before and failed?
If you were unable to successfully pass the physical fitness exam, written test and the Qualifications Appraisal Boards (oral boards), then try again. You must wait a minimum of 30 calendar days to re-take the PT/written tests and a minimum of 60 days to re-take the oral board examination.  You must successfully pass the written and physical fitness tests before participating in the oral boards. We have had several people fail some portion of the hiring process but they came back, persevered, and were successful.

Where can I get further information about the Arizona Department of Public Safety to prepare for the oral boards?
Our website (www.azdps.gov) provides extensive information about the Department, its mission, organizational structure, history, and the services we provide. You can utilize the study plan which is contained in the application packet as a starting point.

Any other advice you can give to prepare for the process?
Yes.  The Department highly recommends all interested applicants complete at least one ride along with a DPS Highway Patrol Officer.  This is an excellent opportunity to get first hand experience observing a patrol officer doing their job and for you to ask questions about the profession.

The ride along application (which must be completed by the applicant and approved by a DPS Supervisor prior to the applicant being scheduled by DPS for a ride along) can be downloaded by following the link below. The completed ride along application must be returned to the nearest Highway Patrol field office in relation to where you would like to do your ride along. Please DO NOT return the ride along application to the DPS Headquarters in Phoenix as Headquarters is not a field office.

Click Here to download the Ride Along Form (pdf).

What are things that can disqualify me from the selection process?
The Department, along with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) minimum requirements, has set forth the following selection guidelines as disqualifiers from consideration of either employment or peace officer certification:

  1. 1. DRUG USAGE
    • MARIJUANA: Illegal use of marijuana more than 20 times total or more than five (5) times since the age of 21, or at any time within the past three (3) years.
    • DANGEROUS DRUGS/NARCOTICS/VAPOROUS SUBSTANCES: Illegal use of dangerous drugs, narcotics, or vaporous substances more than five (5) times total or more than one (1) time since the age of 21, or at any time within the past seven (7) years. Dangerous drugs and/or narcotics include hashish, cocaine/crack, amphetamines/barbiturates, anabolic steroids, LSD/acid, PCP/angel dust, magic mushrooms, etc.
    • PEYOTE/MESCALINE: Illegal use of peyote or mescaline as described in Section I.B. above. (Exception: The use of peyote/mescaline is permitted if for bona fide religious ceremonies.)
    • HEROIN: Use of heroin at anytime.
    • SALE, PRODUCTION, CULTIVATION, OR TRANSPORTATION FOR SALE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS.
    • PATTERN OF ABUSE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

  2. THEFT OR MISAPPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY:
    • Any demonstrated pattern of habitual theft.
    • Any theft while serving in a position of trust.

  3. ACTS CONSTITUTING A FELONY:
    • The conviction of any act which would constitute a felony in the state of Arizona, regardless of the time element.
    • The conviction or commission of any act of domestic violence.

  4. FRAUD OR MISREPRESENTATION:
    • Any intentional attempt to practice any deception or fraud in:
    • The employment application.
    • The various testing processes.
    • Failure to properly complete the application.

  5. DRIVING RECORD:
    • More than one serious traffic violation (D.U.I., reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident) within the last 5 years.
    • Any serious traffic violation (D.U.I., reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident) within the past 3 years.
    • Any recent demonstrated pattern of excessive traffic violations (for positions that require operation of a motor vehicle).

  6. CREDIT:
    • Any demonstrated pattern of indebtedness over an extended period, which has resulted in repossessions or foreclosures or submission of bills to a collection agency.

  7. ADDITIONAL AREAS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO):
    • The Department will also consider all criminal activities (detected/undetected) and conviction/commission of any class crime in any jurisdiction, including outside of the United States.
    • Applicant employment stability and work performance.

What is the AZ POST [the Board]?
The Board was originally created to address the need for uniform peace officer selection, recruitment, retention and training standards, and to provide curriculum and standards for all certified law enforcement training facilities. The Board was also vested with the responsibility of administering the Peace Officer Training Fund.

Please visit their website at www.azpost.gov for more information.  You may also visit www.aleaonline.org for additional information.

Is there an age limit?
There is no maximum age limit. Sworn Reserve Officer Cadets must be at least 21 years of age prior to graduation from the basic training academy.

I have bad credit, I am in collections or I have had a bankruptcy, will this disqualify me?
Possibly. It depends on the situation and what are you doing now to correct the matter. It is highly recommended that any past due or open collection accounts be made current before you apply. Also, any bankruptcies must be discharged before you apply.  The Department will pull one or more credit reports to verify all information provided.  The credit report is just one part of the overall background investigation process.

I have been arrested before, will this disqualify me from the process?
Possibly. It depends on the facts, circumstances, and time frame.

Must I complete an application in order to test?
Yes. An application needs to be received by Human Resources before the posted closing date prior to an applicant showing up for testing. Once the application is received, an invitation letter will be sent after the application has been screened to ensure the applicant has met the selection guidelines.  Click here to obtain an application packet.

How or where will I be assigned upon completion of my training? Can I select a work assignment or does the Department send me wherever they want?
All Sworn Reserve Officers will be assigned to the Highway Patrol Division upon completion of their training to begin their field training program.

All Sworn Reserve Officers, due to the nature of their uncompensated and volunteer statuses, can volunteer their time in any patrol district in the state.  However, patrol supervisors in those districts must approve the Sworn Reserve Officer’s request to patrol those districts.  The vast majority of Sworn Reserve Officers volunteer their time on patrol in the geographic areas in which they live.  For example, a Sworn Reserve Officer living in Central Phoenix would patrol in the metropolitan Phoenix area and utilize Department facilities in the metropolitan Phoenix area.

Are there any limitations the Department of Public Safety places on appointing Sworn Reserve Officers?
Yes.  Sworn Reserve Officers shall not be employed (either compensated or uncompensated) by another agency within the criminal justice system as a peace officer/law enforcement officer (either inside or outside of the State of Arizona).

What is a “Lateral Officer”?
A lateral officer is an individual who already possesses in/out of state peace officer certification.

Does the Department accept lateral officers for sworn reserve officer positions?
In and out of state officers are encouraged to apply and will go through the same process utilized for a Sworn Reserve Cadet Officer position. Once the out of state officer successfully completes the first phase of the selection process, they are given an offer of employment based on the successful completion of the background investigation, polygraph, psychological exam, medical exam and pre-employment drug test.

The Department will then appoint (as an unpaid civilian volunteer) lateral sworn reserve officer candidates and sponsor them to take the waiver certification examination administered by AZ POST.  This test will only be administered after the officer candidate has completed a separate application to AZ POST and has also provided copies of their respective training records for AZ POST to review. AZ POST will review the applicant’s training records and determine if the records meet or exceed the basic training requirements for the State of Arizona Basic Peace Officer Certification. The officer candidate then takes a written test, physical aptitude test (POPAT), driving qualification and a firearms qualification.

Once the out of state officer has successfully passed these exams, the officer candidate bypasses basic training and is granted State of Arizona Peace Officer certification and begins their field training program. 

In-state lateral officer candidates do not take the written test and once they have been approved for appointment as a Sworn Reserve Officer by the Department, they will then begin their field training program.

Does AZ POST accept peace officer certifications from every state in the union?
No, they do not. Every out-of-state lateral applicant is evaluated on a case-by- case basis. AZ POST makes the decision as to whether or not an out-of-state lateral applicant’s certification is in compliance with AZ POST standards. Please go to the AZ POST website to learn about the peace officer waiver process for out-of-state lateral officers.

IF YOU ARE A FEDERALLY CERTIFIED OFFICER ONLY (WITH NO CURRENT OR PREVIOUS STATE CERTIFICATION), IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED YOU CONTACT AZ POST (WWW.AZPOST.GOV) TO DETERMINE IF THEY WILL ACCEPT YOUR FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT CERTIFICATION; MANY TIMES THEY DO NOT*.

Are there any situations where DPS will not accept an AZ POST certified officer for a Sworn Reserve Officer position?
Yes. If the officer has not been employed as a peace officer in the last 18 months or whose certification has lapsed [not having attended an AZ POST approved training course in the last three years]. These applicants will have to go through the lateral officer waiver process administered through AZ POST.

Note: Arizona Department of Corrections AZ POST Correctional Officer certification is not the same as AZ POST Peace Officer certification. Correctional Officers who wish to volunteer for the Department as a Sworn Reserve Officer will be processed as Sworn Reserve Cadet Officer applicants.

What is the pay?
Sworn Reserve Officer volunteers are neither compensated for their services to the Department nor are they eligible for state employee benefits, except for Workers' Compensation under ARS 41-1718.

How would I receive veteran’s preference points?
Since the process for Sworn Reserve Officer/Cadet volunteer is non-competitive, veteran’s preference points do not apply. 

Can I receive G.I. bill benefits while in training?
Yes. Sworn Reserve Officers and Cadets can elect to draw on their G.I. bill while they attend the basic training academy and/or during field training, under the certification program. The Arizona Department of Public Safety’s training program has been approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) for continued training. The basic training academy qualifies for VA benefits. Veterans can apply and receive VA benefits during the Academy and Field Training Program.  Benefits are currently set at approximately $753.00 per month and approximately $522.20 per month, respectively.

More information can be found at www.va.gov or;
Information specific to Arizona Veteran's Services at www.azdvs.gov.

I am a member of the Guard or Reserves. How will this affect my ability to be a Sworn Reserve Officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety?
We have many sworn officers and civilian employees who have a Guard or Reserve commitment. The Department is very grateful for their service to the citizens of our state and our country. They attend weekend drill, annual training, and activations while maintaining their volunteer status with the Department. Military units will let their service members know the training dates and obligations in advance.. Remember, if you are a member of the Guard or Reserves, you need to keep your supervisor informed about training dates and obligations to avoid any scheduling conflicts.

When do the academies start?
The current community college based, extended format basic training academies, typically coincide with the Spring and Fall semester schedules of their respective college.  Please check with these colleges (Glendale Community College, Chandler/Gilbert Community College, and the Arizona Western College) for specific start dates.

Where are the academies?
The current extended format academies are located in Glendale, AZ, Chandler, AZ, and Yuma, AZ.

How long is the academy?
The extended format academy is normally ten (10) months in length (two college semesters) with recruits attending two nights per week and all day on Sunday.  During the first semester, there are also approximately seven (7) Saturday sessions where recruits attend training. Recruits who attend the extended format academy are sponsored by police departments or open enrollment recruits who are unsponsored. (Please visit both the AZ POST website and the law enforcement training academy you are interested in attending to learn more about the unsponsored recruit program).  Here is a typical example of an extended academy’s open enrollment program:
 
http://www.gc.maricopa.edu/justice/leo/files/oe.html.

At the conclusion of the extended format academy, the recruits who are sponsored receive full peace officer certification. The open enrollment students await employment before full certification is achieved. The academy is designed to meet the needs of police agencies and prepare recruits to function as a peace officer in the State of Arizona.

Are there any costs associated with me attending the extended format academy? What equipment does the Department provide me?
Please be advised the cost of the basic training academy, and certain equipment, is the responsibility of the Recruit. Please click on the links below for the various academies to learn more about specific anticipated Recruit costs.

Academies (click any link below for details)

The Department of Public Safety provides the following items to its Sworn Reserve Cadets and Officers: 1) Duty weapon (firearm), ammunition, holster and magazine pouch; 2) Duty belt, handcuffs and case, OC spray and case, police radio and holder; 3) Reimbursement for body armor (up to $1,000.00); 4) Badges (wallet and breast) and police credentials; 5) Sworn Reserve Officers purchase their own uniforms. However, once a Sworn Reserve Officer begins their field training program, they may be provided (depending on the availability of funds) a one-time uniform allowance stipend to help offset the cost of their initial uniform purchase.

Sworn Reserve Officers may qualify for additional uniform allowances based upon satisfactory performance and meeting the minimum work-hour requirement.

The Department also offers advanced officer training courses to its Sworn Reserve Officers.

What is/are the difference(s) between a full-time academy and the extended format academies?
There are several differences.  Recruits attending the full-time academy are compensated and employed as full-time recruits with an agency where they work a 40-hour work-week and go through approximately 19 weeks of training.  Upon their graduation from the academy, they are given full-authority peace officer certification.

Recruits attending the extended format academies are paying their own way through their 40 weeks of training with no compensation/benefits, attending between approximately 25 and 35 hours of academy training during the week, with many also working a full-time job.  They are also a college student which requires them to meet both the academic requirements of the college and the training requirements of the AZ POST board.  Graduates of the extended format academies will normally graduate with an excess of 700 hours of training.
The academies require the recruits to adhere to the rules and regulations of their respective Community College Law Enforcement Training Academy, as well as the policies of AZPOST and their agencies. Recruits are expected to fully participate in classroom lectures, practical exercises and physical fitness training. All aspects of the academies are designed to provide the recruits with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively perform the essential functions of their position as a peace officer.

Regardless of which academy a recruit attends, they are extremely challenging, both physically and mentally, and can be as equally rewarding. They are all certified by AZ POST and each have their own unique circumstances and conditions. 

What will the physical fitness expectations be while in basic training?
During the very beginning of basic training, you will be given a series of physical fitness tests to see what your level of physical conditioning is.  These include, but are not limited to, a 1.5 mile run, sit-ups, push-ups, 300 and/or 500 meter sprints, agility courses, obstacle courses, 6 foot solid wall climb, 6 foot chain link climb and a 165-pound body drag.

Physical Conditioning (PC) is an integral part of academy training. You can expect a regular regiment of short and long distance running/sprinting [aerobic] on varied terrains such as hills, canal banks, dirt, asphalt, concrete and rocky, uneven surfaces.  There is also a component of strength training exercise [anaerobic] to include, but not limited to, push-ups, sit-ups and weight training.

Recruits are also expected to be able run at approximately a ten minute per mile pace for at least three miles almost immediately upon starting their basic academy training. You will also be expected to run, and keep up with, distances anywhere from one to ten miles.  You will be challenged physically while at the academy, no matter what your condition is upon entering the academy.

Also, as a recruit attending the extended format academy, you will be expected to exercise on your own time away from the academy.  You must track your own progress which will be verified by the academy staff through various assessments and checks.  Just as in individual private lives, you must make time and adhere to a lifetime wellness program where you incorporate the three critical components of a good program:  Rest, diet and exercise.  You will be given these tools and strategies to do this but you must use them to be successful.

What is the Field Training Program (FTO)?
The purpose of FTO is to produce a qualified and professional Highway Patrol officer. The Department’s FTO Program is designed to take the academic knowledge the new officer has learned and teach them how to apply this knowledge in a practical setting. This setting is supervised by a Field Training Instructor (FTI) who will document the new officer’s performance and make a recommendation to the chain of command whether or not to release the trainee to solo patrol.

How long is FTO?
The Department’s field training program is 400 hours.  All new Sworn Officers must successfully complete the program before being released to solo patrol.  Sworn Reserve Officers have 1 (one) calendar year from their graduation date of basic training to complete FTO. Lateral Sworn Reserves have one calendar year from being appointed by the Department to complete FTO.

The FTO program is split in to two (2) consecutive, 200-hour long phases.  Each phase will be under the direction of a different Field Training Instructor. The training process may be extended to a maximum of 560 hours.

What if I am already a certified officer? Don’t I go right to the field and start working solo?
No. ALL Sworn Reserve Officers (new or laterals) must take part in the FTO program. Previously certified Officers who are able to meet all of the training objectives of the Field Training Manual may have their FTO period reduced up to 200 hours. This decision will be made by the new Officers’ chain of command in concurrence with the FTO coordinator.

What is the process to become a paid/full-time Officer once I have become a Sworn Reserve Officer?
Many Sworn Reserve Officers, at some point, will ultimately decide to transition to a full-time Officer position.

In order for a Sworn Reserve Officer to transition to a full-time/compensated (competitive) position, the following conditions must be met:

  • The Sworn Reserve Officer must have maintained compliance with the minimum number of hours volunteered per calendar year.  Currently, 240 hours per calendar year is the minimum (hours volunteered during FTO are counted, however hours spent as a Cadet at the basic training academy are not).
  • The Sworn Reserve Officer must have obtained a “Standard” rating, or better, during their annual performance evaluation.
  • The Sworn Reserve Officer must submit an internal memo through their chain of command requesting approval to test as an internal candidate for a full-time position.  The chain of command must approve the request.
  • The Sworn Reserve Officer must have volunteered a minimum of 1,000 hours (this includes FTO time) within the Highway Patrol Division on patrol.
  • The Sworn Reserve Officer must successfully pass a Qualifications Appraisal Board interview in order to be ranked and placed on an eligibility list.  The Department may also administer additional selection examinations as it deems appropriate.
  • All Sworn Reserve Officers who wish to become a full-time Officer must be willing to accept assignments to positions throughout the State of Arizona.  This willingness may enhance their viability as a candidate.  However, they may choose to wait for a duty assignment to possibly open in an area where they would not need to relocate.

How many Sworn Reserve Officers is the Arizona Department of Public Safety planning to appoint?
The Department is actively seeking Sworn Reserve Officers.  There is currently no limit to how many Sworn Reserve Officer Volunteers the Department plans on appointing.

What can I expect as a new Sworn Reserve Officer in the Highway Patrol Division?
Newly appointed Sworn Reserve Officers, once they successfully complete the FTO program, must volunteer a minimum of 16 hours per month, although many of our Sworn Reserve Officers volunteer more.  They can expect to be treated the same as a paid Officer in regards to authority, responsibility and accountability.

Typically, new Sworn Reserve Officers will volunteer their time on patrol with one or two different patrol squads, depending on their availability, getting to know their patrol area and gaining experience in their new position. 

All AZ POST certified Officers must attend a minimum of 8-hours of annual training, along with an annual firearms qualification (including an annual judgmental shoot).  The Department also has annual training requirements all Sworn Officers must successfully complete.

What shifts do Sworn Reserve Officers work?
Sworn Reserve Officers work the same shifts as full-time Officers.  These are either 8 or 10-hour shifts.  The decision to work a particular shift is made by each Sworn Reserve Officer, with the concurrence of the respective shift/squad supervisor.  Barring any fluctuations in a Sworn Reserve Officer’s personal schedule, most Sworn Reserve Officers work the same shift(s) each week with the same work group.  This allows for continuity of training and consistent supervision.

How soon can I transfer to another assignment?
Should a Sworn Reserve Officer desire to work an assignment other than patrol, they must be proficient in their current assignment and have standard or better performance ratings from their supervisor(s).  They should always keep their resume updated and attend as much specialized training as possible, especially in the area(s) to which they wish to transfer.

What type of assignments do I have the potential to experience in my Sworn Reserve Officer position with the Arizona Department of Public Safety?
Just as in any job, public or private sector, you have the potential to experience many different assignments within the Department. Your path will be what you choose to make of it. We have Sworn Reserve Officers who volunteer their time in many areas, normally due to prior experience or specialized training.

There are many different assignments you can select from and experience during your appointment. Some of these are: S.W.A.T, explosive ordnance detail, governors protection, aviation, motorcycle patrol, K-9, hazardous material, intelligence, anti-terrorism, white collar/financial/computer crimes, special investigations, criminal investigations, commercial vehicle detail, gang enforcement, vehicle theft interdiction and illegal immigration enforcement.

What opportunities are there to work off-duty/secondary employment with the Department?
Occasionally certain off-duty and/or secondary employment opportunities arise for Sworn Reserve Officers to work. In order to work these jobs, Sworn Reserves must already have worked the required number of volunteer hours for every hour of off-duty work they wish to work. For example, a Sworn Reserve Officer who wants to work an 8-hour off-duty shift must have at least 8 hours of volunteer time already worked before the anticipated off-duty job date.