Arizona Department of Public Safety

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Arizona Department of Public Safety
Arizona Department of Public Safety.jpg
Patch of the Arizona DPS
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Badge of an Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper
Flag of Arizona.svg
Common name Arizona Highway Patrol
Abbreviation DPS
Motto "Courteous Vigilance"
Agency overview
Formed July 1, 1969; 49 years ago (1969-07-01)
Employees 2,005 (as of 2004)[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction Arizona, United States
Arizona in United States.svg
Map of Arizona DPS Jurisdiction
Size 295,254 square kilometres 113,998 square miles
Population 7,016,270 (2017 est.)[2]
Legal jurisdiction Arizona
Headquarters 2102 West Encanto Boulevard, Phoenix, Arizona 85009, U.S.

Troopers 1249 (as of 2016)
Civilians 880 (as of 2004)
Agency executives
  • Frank L. Milstead, Director
  • Heston Silbert, Deputy Director
  • Assistant Director Dan Lugo, Highway Patrol Division
  • Assistant Director Ken Hunter, Criminal Investigations Division
  • Assistant Director Timothy Chung, Technical Services Division
  • Assistant Director Wayde Webb, Agency Support Division
Districts 12

Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) is an American law enforcement agency with its usual focus being protection of all Arizona highways. The Director is Frank L. Milstead, who began his 4-year term in February 2015. Its headquarters are in Phoenix.[3]


Following legislation in 1968, the Arizona Department of Public Safety 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 four divisions - Highway Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Technical Services, Agency Support. Together these four 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.

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 exist and patrol 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.

For much of its history, the sworn members of the department were known as officers or patrolmen. In early 2015, a change in title was initiated at the agency that resulted in its sworn personnel becoming known as State Troopers. The change in title from patrolmen and officer to State Trooper served to better align the department with other highway patrol agencies across the country.

On September 1, 2015, at the direction of Governor Doug Ducey, the department initiated the Arizona Border Strike Force (BSF), a new enforcement initiative that not only targets border crimes but provides a comprehensive collaborative approach to help secure Arizona's international border with Mexico and thwart transnational criminal organizations.

The initiative requires the department to improve its availability to address border related crimes including: drug trafficking, weapon smuggling, vehicle theft recovery, and violent criminal apprehension, as well as evaluating and analyzing criminal intelligence, and enhancing response capabilities in the border region.

The BSF utilizes existing infrastructure and partnerships with federal, state, county, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies in the border region. Partnerships among agencies will be leveraged for the purpose of conducting enforcement operations designed to interdict criminal activity in southern and central Arizona.

One objective of this initiative includes integrating and aligning the intelligence capabilities of partnering agencies. In addition, the BSF is integrating counter-network operations to identify and target transnational criminal organizations and illicit organizations while prioritizing investigative efforts to deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations.

The BSF is also strengthening international, prosecutorial and deterrent efforts against transnational criminal organizations, and focusing on unified communications and messaging efforts.

The BSF operations focus on roving criminal interdiction patrol details, intelligence-led remote area operations, outbound details, and deterrent saturation patrols to identify, deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations.

The vehicles of choice for the Arizona DPS/HP are the Ford Crown Victoria with the Police Interceptor package, Ford Explorer, Ford Taurus, and the Chevy Tahoe police package SUV. The department issued weapons are, for handguns, FN Herstal FNS Long Slide chambered in .40 S&W, SIG Sauer P226 chambered in .40 S&W, or the alternative issue SIG Sauer P229 in 40 S&W. For long guns, DPS uses the Patrol rifle 223 caliber Colt AR15A2 Colt M16A2 or Colt M4 supplied with 2, 30 round magazines. The 12 gauge Remington 870 shotguns are not authorized for carry and have been modified for less lethal munitions. SWAT Troopers are issued fully automatic LWRC short barreled rifles.

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia
Director - Colonel
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Deputy Director - Lt. Colonel
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Assistant Director - Lt. Colonel
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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.[4]


The Department of Public Safety is under the command of a director, with the rank of colonel, who is appointed by the Governor of Arizona. The director is assisted by a deputy director, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, appointed by the director. The department is composed of five primary divisions – Highway Patrol, Criminal Investigations, Technical Services, Agency Support and the Director's Office. The four program Divisions are headed by assistant directors, each with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

  • Director
    • Deputy director
      • Director's Office
        • Agency Ombudsman
        • Budget Office
        • Government Liaison Section
        • Public Information Office
        • Executive Security Unit
        • Professional Standards Unit
      • Criminal Investigations Division
        • Narcotics and Organized Crime Bureau
        • Investigations Bureau
        • Intelligence Bureau
        • Gang Enforcement Bureau
        • Rocky Mountain Information Network
      • Highway Patrol Division
        • North Patrol Bureau
        • South Patrol Bureau
        • Metro Patrol Bureau
          • Motorcycle District
          • DUI Enforcement Squad
        • Canine District
        • Capitol District
        • Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Districts
      • Technical Services Division
        • Criminal Justice Services Bureau
        • Fingerprint and Licensing Bureau
        • Wireless Systems Bureau
        • Information Technology Bureau
        • Operational Communications Bureau
        • Scientific Analysis Bureau
      • Agency Support Division
        • Logistics Bureau
        • Management Services Bureau
        • Human Resources Bureau
        • Aviation Bureau
        • Procurement Unit


Currently, the Arizona Highway Patrol uses Ford Interceptor (SUV and Car), Impala 9C1, Tahoe PPV, Crown Victorias, F-150s, and Expeditions. They do have one marked Dodge Ram Pickup. Unmarked vehicles are commonly Impalas, Crown Victorias, F-150 and 250 pickups. Motorcycle units primarily consist of BMW RT-1200s.

In the past, automobile manufactures would donate cars to the department for testing. It would not be unusual to see luxury cars such as Lincoln Town Cars, Ford Thunderbirds, and others.

Arizona Highway Patrol[edit]

See also: State police (United States) § List of State Police agencies.

The Arizona Highway Patrol is divided into 12 districts:

Commercial Vehicle Enforcement[edit]

The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau enforces rules and regulations regarding the operation of commercial vehicles on the roads and highways of Arizona. The emphasis is on vehicle safety, driver safety, and proper authority and compliance for vehicles operating in commerce.

DUI Enforcement Unit[edit]

The DUI Enforcement Unit investigates drug and alcohol impaired drivers, and provides support to Highway Patrol, local, and county agencies through training and logistical support.

Vehicular Crimes Unit[edit]

The Vehicular Crimes and Reconstruction Unit provides investigative expertise and court testimony when a vehicle is connected to a homicide.

Criminal Investigation Division (CID)[edit]

The Criminal Investigations Division provides investigative, enforcement and high risk response support to federal, state, and local criminal justice agencies. The CID conducts investigations regarding narcotic trafficking, organized crime, intelligence, vehicle theft, gangs, computer and financial crimes, as well as major crime investigations when requested by other criminal justice agencies. It operates a geographic information system (GIS) mapping center for the Department of Public Safety and makes data available to other agencies in Arizona.

The CID is responsible for the protection of the Governor and provides High Risk Response to acts of extraordinary violence and domestic preparedness incidents.

There are five bureaus within the Criminal Investigations Division:

  • Narcotics/Organized Crime
  • Investigation
  • Intelligence
  • Gang Enforcement (GITEM)
  • Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN).

Office of the Director[edit]

The Office of the Director provides assistance to the Arizona Department of Public Safety through administrative services such as crime victim services, management services promoting efficiency of government, media relations, research and planning, legal services, investigation of employee misconduct, internal and external management audits, and coordination of financial and human resource services.

Technical Services (TSD)[edit]

The Technical Services Division develops and coordinates scientific, technical, regulatory, and support services by providing scientific analysis and criminal justice support to Arizona’s criminal justice agencies. TSD also develops, operates, and maintains the data processing and data/voice communications systems statewide and operates facilities management and logistical support.

There are six bureaus within the Technical Services Division:

  • Criminal Justice Services Bureau
  • Fingerprint and Licensing Bureau
  • Wireless Systems Bureau
  • Information Technology Bureau
  • Operational Communications Bureau
  • Scientific Analysis Bureau

Agency Support (ASD)[edit]

The Agency Support Division (ASD) exists to support the mission critical units of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The Agency Support Division provides support and management services that promote government efficiency, contemporary research and planning, legal services, coordination of financial and human resource services, records and public records services, department training, cost effective facilities management, innovative logistical support, and provides statewide aviation support.

There are five bureaus within the Agency Support Division:

  • Logistics Bureau
  • Management Services Bureau
  • Human Resources Bureau
  • Aviation Bureau
  • Procurement Unit


  • Male: 92%[5]
  • Female: 8%[5]
  • European/White: 82%[5]
  • Latino/Hispanic: 14%[5]
  • Native American Indian: 2%[5]
  • African/Black: 1%[5]
  • Asian: 1%[5]

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, 30 troopers and 4 K9s have died while on duty.[6] The agency, along with the Arizona Highway Patrol Association, remembers each fallen officer at an annual memorial ceremony on the first Monday of May.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USDOJ Statistics Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Arizona: Population estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. July 1, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  3. ^ "CONTACT INFORMATION." Arizona Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on January 9, 2011. "Physical Address 2102 W Encanto Blvd Phoenix, AZ 85009"
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2008-04-02.  U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers
  6. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2015-02-27. 

External links[edit]