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Low pay hurting Arizona DPS efforts to recruit, retain troopers, official says

(Facebook Photo/Arizona State Troopers Association)

PHOENIX – Uncompetitive pay is making it difficult for the Arizona Department of Public Safety to recruit and retain staff, the head of the state law enforcement agency’s labor organization said.

Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, president of the Arizona State Troopers Association, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News on Friday that state troopers and other department employees are paid around 25 percent under market value when compared to other police forces in the state.

“It is significant,” Chavez said.

Chavez noted that rural Arizona areas often rely on DPS troopers as their main police agency.

“In many places they are the law enforcement within that community, with backup sometimes more than 20, 30, 40 minutes away,” he said.

“They are, as we like to day, the lone ranger.”

Gov. Doug Ducey has included a 10 percent DPS pay raise in his budget proposal, something Chavez said is appreciated.

In addition, his group is working with the Legislature on a multiyear plan for additional salary funding.

“We’re not asking to be the top, we just want to be competitive so that we can recruit and retain, both on the sworn and civilian side,” Chavez said.

“We are running into some critical staffing issues on the civilian side, as well.”

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