Arizona Department of Public Safety

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Arizona Department of Public Safety
Patch of the Arizona DPS
Patch of the Arizona DPS
Seal of the State of Arizona
Badge of an Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper
Badge of an Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper
Flag of the State of Arizona
Common nameArizona Department of Public Safety
AbbreviationAZDPS [1]
Motto"Courteous Vigilance"
Agency overview
FormedJuly 1, 1969; 51 years ago (1969-07-01)
Employees2,071 (as of 2018) [1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionArizona, United States
Arizona in United States.svg
Map of Arizona DPS Jurisdiction
Size295,254 square kilometers 113,998 square miles
Population7,016,270 (2017 est.)[2]
Legal jurisdictionArizona
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters2102 West Encanto Boulevard, Phoenix, Arizona 85009, U.S.
Troopers1171 (as of 2018) [1]
Civilian Members900 (as of 2018) [1]
Agency executives
  • Colonel Heston Silbert, Director
  • Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Hunter, Deputy Director
  • Lieutenant Colonel Dan Lugo, Agency Support Division Assistant Director
  • Lieutenant Colonel Deston Coleman, Criminal Investigations Division Assistant Director
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jenna Mitchell, Highway Patrol Division Assistant Director
  • Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Chung, Technical Services Division Assistant Director
Parent agency[3]
Districts19 [4]

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) is a state-level law enforcement agency with a primary function of patrolling and enforcing state laws on Arizona highways.[5] Director Heston Silbert was promoted from Deputy Director to Director in April 2020 upon the retirement of former Director Frank Milstead. Its headquarters are in Phoenix.[6]


Following legislation in 1968, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) was established by the executive order of Arizona Governor, Jack Williams, on July 1, 1969. This order amalgamated the functions and responsibilities of the Arizona Highway Patrol, the Law Enforcement Division of the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, and the Narcotics Division of the state Department of Law.

In its 50-plus years of service, the department has become an organization dedicated to protecting and providing state-level law enforcement services to the public, and developing partnerships with agencies sharing similar missions.

The department consists of five divisions: Office of the Director, Highway Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Technical Services, and Agency Support. Together, these five divisions provide scientific, technical, operational, and regulatory services to Arizona residents, and to the state's criminal justice community; one of the more famous subdivisions of the Criminal Investigations Division is the "Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission" task force (better known as "GIITEM"), which was formed to combat the growing gang infestation problems mainly in Maricopa County (the Phoenix area), even though their jurisdiction is statewide.[7]

In 2011, the Arizona State Capitol Police department was merged with DPS, alongside the Highway Patrol Division. ASCP was responsible for the State Capitol Mall in Phoenix and the Tucson State Complex. Today, the Capitol Police still exists and patrols the Capitol grounds, but they are now full DPS officers, and use DPS cars, logos, and uniforms. Capitol police officers wear special Capitol Police patches on their uniforms.

The department-issued vehicles of the Arizona DPS include the Ford Police Interceptor Utility, Ford Police Interceptor Sedan, Chevrolet Tahoe PPV, and Dodge Charger Pursuit. The handgun issued as the department weapon is the Glock 17 Generation 5, chambered in 9MM, and carried with three to four 17-round magazines. The long guns issued as department weapons are the Colt AR15A2, Colt M16A2, or Colt M4, supplied with two 30-round magazines. The 12-gauge Remington 870 shotguns are not authorized for carrying and have been modified for less-lethal munitions. SWAT Troopers are issued selective fire, short-barreled rifles.

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia
Director - Colonel
Colonel Silver.png
Deputy Director - Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
Assistant Director - Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
CHP Sergeant Stripes.png
Blank - Spacer.png

Old ranks[edit]

The ranks of lieutenant and commander were abolished and converted to captain and major respectively in 2010. On July 24, 2015, officers officially became known as State Troopers.[citation needed]


As of July 2018 (Note: Numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number):[1]

Sworn Staff Professional Staff Overall
Male 96% 47% 72%
Female 4% 53% 27%
White 78% 77% 78%
African American 2% 5% 3%
Hispanic 18% 14% 16%
Asian/Pacific Islander 1% 4% 2%
Native American 1% 1% 1%
Age 40+ 54% 70% 62%

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, 30 troopers and 4 K9s have died while on duty.[8] The agency, along with the Arizona Highway Patrol Association, remembers each fallen officer at an annual memorial ceremony on the first Monday of May.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^ "Arizona: Population estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. July 1, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "CONTACT INFORMATION Archived 2010-12-28 at the Wayback Machine." Arizona Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on January 9, 2011. "Physical Address 2102 W Encanto Blvd Phoenix, AZ 85009"
  7. ^
  8. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2015-02-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]