Arizona DPS Maj. Jenna Mitchell to become next head of Highway Patrol

Jul 3, 2019, 12:36 PM | Updated: 6:17 pm

(DPS Photo)...

(DPS Photo)

(DPS Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Department of Public Safety Maj. Jenna Mitchell will become the next head of the Highway Patrol Division, the department announced Wednesday.

Mitchell, who grew up in Casa Grande and has worked for the department for 26 years, will be promoted Saturday to become the second female lieutenant colonel in department history and the first female to lead the patrol.

“My parents always told me that I could do anything I could set my mind to, and I believed them,” Mitchell told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show.

“I worked hard, and I had the support of amazing mentors throughout my career and throughout my life, and that’s really led to my success.”

Mitchell will lead a staff of 750 at the Highway Patrol Division, which conducts 500,000 traffic stops and arrests over 13,000 people each year, according to a DPS press release.

Director Col. Frank Milstead told Bruce & Pamela that recruiting women to DPS is difficult because positions sometimes require relocation to rural areas.

Milstead said the sworn population of DPS is about 5 or 6% female right now, while the Phoenix or Mesa police departments hover around 11-13%.

“Sending people to remote locations away from their family, away from their comfort zone, that creates a challenge. Jenna somehow has been able to navigate at the highest level,” Milstead said.

“She has worked her way up from just being a trooper out working patrol, worked all kinds of difficult assignments while she raised a family.”

Mitchell, a mom of four, said it’s an “honor” to be named to her new role.

“When I started my career 26 years ago, I never could have imagined that I’d be appointed to lieutenant colonel,” she said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of Phoenix Police cruiser with lights on at night...

Collision leaves 1 dead, another seriously injured in north Phoenix

Police is investigating a collision that killed one adult man and seriously injured another in north Phoenix.

6 hours ago

File photo showing the side of a Phoenix police department SUV stopped in front of a wall on the si...

South Phoenix collision leaves 1 dead, 2 others hospitalized

Phoenix detectives are investigating a collision Sunday morning that left one passenger dead, two other people hospitalized.

6 hours ago

(KTAR file photos)...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Phoenix news stories from March 1-3

From bad driving and airport expansions to crimes and sliders, here are some of the biggest stories in Phoenix from this weekend.

6 hours ago

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

7 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

7 hours ago

FILE - A voting sign is seen near a voting center at Croft Baptist Church, Feb. 24, 2024, in Sparta...

Associated Press

A chunk of Republican primary and caucus voters say they wouldn’t vote for Trump as the GOP nominee

About 1 in 10 early contest voters who said they supported Trump in the 2020 general election said they wouldn’t be doing so this year.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Arizona DPS Maj. Jenna Mitchell to become next head of Highway Patrol