Inspector Dennis Young Retires from AZDPS After 50 Years of Service

On March 1, 2024, Inspector Dennis Young retired from the Arizona Department of Public Safety after a remarkable 50 years of dedicated service to the State of Arizona.

Over the course of his career, Young participated in several major operations, rose through the ranks to hold leadership positions across the department, and received numerous awards for his outstanding dedication and professionalism.

Young began his career with AZDPS in 1972, graduating from the academy and becoming an AZDPS highway patrol officer in the Tucson area in early 1973. Just a few months later, in June of 1973, Young and more than 150 fellow AZDPS officers assisted in securing and searching the Arizona State Prison in Florence following a deadly prisoner uprising. Officers spent seven days scouring the facility and removing weapons, drugs, and other contraband, an operation Young said was his first real introduction to how the criminal element operates.

Young went on to participate in several other major operations over the next decade, including the Tison Gang manhunt in 1978, and the Clifton-Morenci Strike of 1983. Years later, in 2022, Young and fellow officers would receive a Conflict Resolution Citation from Director Heston Silbert in recognition of their critical support role during the strike and related civil unrest.

A milestone in his career came in 1991 when he was selected to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA, an advanced executive training program for law enforcement managers. Young proudly graduated as a member of 166th Class in September of 1991.

In the decades that followed, Young served in a variety of positions, to include undercover narcotics agent, advanced officer training sergeant, U.S. Customs Drug Task Force sergeant, Internal Affairs Unit lieutenant, Highway Patrol Division District 14 lieutenant, Special Investigations Unit lieutenant, Arizona Law Enforcement Academy basic training lieutenant and Metro Central District Highway Patrol Bureau commander.

For his initiative and perseverance in implementing a department-wide training program, Young was awarded the Director’s Citation for Professional Excellence in 2008.

Young initially retired from AZDPS as a commander on September 30, 2009, after 37 years of service. Two weeks later, he was appointed by the town council to be the Interim Chief of Police for the Youngtown Police Department. Less than a year and a half later, in January of 2011, Director Robert Halliday brought Young back to AZDPS at the rank of lieutenant colonel to serve as his deputy director. Young said the following four years with Director Halliday proved to be the busiest and most fulfilling of his career.

In February of 2015, following Director Halliday’s retirement, Young went on to serve as a special advisor to Director Frank Milstead and later as an inspector in the Director’s Office working on a variety of special assignments to include Interim Chief of Police of the Wickenburg Police Department and Interim Inspector General at the Arizona Department of Economic Security. He spent the remainder of his time at AZDPS as the chairman of the Critical Incident Review Board. His knowledge, leadership skills and commitment to public safety continued to be an invaluable asset to the department until his retirement on March 1, 2024.

In his last message to his colleagues, Inspector Young wrote the following:

“With my law enforcement career ending after 50 years, it has confirmed to me what I have always known – there is no greater reward than a life lived in service. I hope I have accomplished just one thing, that I have been a credit to my department and to law enforcement.”

We wish Inspector Young a long and happy retirement. We thank him and his family – especially his wife, Amy, and their three kids, Shawna, Erik and Taylor - for their years of service and sacrifice to the State of Arizona. They have truly made a difference to the department and the state.


Dennis Young
Dennis Young with family at AZDPS HQ
Dennis Young at the FBI National Academy
Dennis Young