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Arizona law enforcement officials seek to fill ‘critical’ job vacancies

Police officer Steve Blasko walks near police tape at the scene of a fatal house fire and shooting Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

PHOENIX — Law enforcement agencies across Arizona are searching for men and women to join them in the ranks as the need to fill job vacancies reaches “critical” levels.

At a press conference on Monday, Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone and Phoenix Police Department Commander Brian Lee gathered to spread the word about the latest hiring efforts going on in each department.

“We are not looking for individuals who want just a job. We’re looking for individuals who are going to invest in a career,” Penzone said, adding that many law enforcement agencies around the state are depleted of its resources.

“We have considerable career opportunities and we’re looking for talented people to fill those jobs,” Penzone added.

Milstead said there is a shortage of both sworn officers and civilian professional staff in his division.

“We’re just regular people who have a servant mentality,” he said. “If you have that servant mentality, and you want to give back to your community, and you want to be part of building a stronger, safer Arizona, this is a place you can do that.”

Lee said the Phoenix Police Department is in the middle of an aggressive hiring and recruitment campaign.

“Police officers aren’t born — they apply,” Lee said Monday.

The need to fill these positions is wearing on law enforcement officials every day.

Currently, MCSO is looking to hire about 200 detention officers, civilian employees and deputies, while Lee said his department has about 385 vacancies.

But, law enforcement officials stressed, they are looking to fill these vacancies with people who will not only protect their community, but represent it.

“Our organization is committed to hiring members that create a diverse workforce, so that we can have a workforce that’s truly representative of the communities that we ultimately serve,” Lee said.

Milstead said anyone who is interested in coming a DPS trooper should sign up for a ride-along and “go spend a couple nights in a trooper’s car and see what they do.”

There will be a law enforcement career fair held at Northern Arizona University’s Phoenix campus on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon. There will be more than a dozen law enforcement agencies from across the Valley looking for new hires.

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