Tempe Police Department

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Tempe Police Department
Common name Tempe Police Department
Abbreviation Tempe PD
Motto Honor - Integrity - Loyalty - Dedication
Agency overview
Formed 1895
Preceding agency Municipal Police
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Tempe in the state of Arizona, USA
Population 170,000
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 120 E. Fifth St.
Agency executive Sylvia Moir, Chief of Police
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The "Town of Tempe" was incorporated in November 1894 and as the population increased, George Compton was elected the town's first marshal on January 14, 1895. By 1901, law enforcement expanded with the purchase of a motorcycle to assist with enforcing the town’s speed ordinance. Growth continued between 1920 and 1922 and a night police officer was added to assist policing. In 1928, a German Shepherd police dog was loaned to the town by the Los Angeles Police Department to supplement the marshals’ efforts.

One additional night officer was added in the 1930s and mobility increased with the purchase of a patrol car in 1938. A short wave radio and siren would be added to the car by 1941. As the town and police force expanded, the title of marshal was changed to police chief in 1949.

As the town's population continued to grow into the 1960s and 1970s, the department continued to expand. In 1974, the department created the state's first police mounted unit; in 1975 a SWAT Team was formed and by 1979 a K-9 unit was operational.

The city of Tempe continued to grow and had more than 100,000 residents by the 1980s. The department responded to this population growth implementing community policing techniques of the time by 1988. In this same year, the department started the Citizen's Police Academy along with the Volunteers in Policing (VIP) Program.

During the 1990s, the Tempe Police Department continued to grow as events associated with a bustling downtown, Arizona State University and numerous special events grew in size and number. The department’s police officers provided security and public safety for college football national championships, professional football championships and one of the nation's larges New Year's Eve block parties. In 1992, the Bike Squad was created to provide a proactive group of officers able to quickly respond for service within the congested downtown. During Fiscal Year 2003-04, Tempe Police Department had increased to 326 sworn officers and 182 civilian support employees.[1]

The department's most recent objectives include the use of intelligence led policing. This includes the creation of a Crime and Intelligence Center, more streamlined internal communication and improved relationships with other law enforcement and government agencies.

As of 2010, the Tempe Police Department had more than 330 sworn police officers in patrol, investigations and support areas and approximately 150 civilian staff serving a jail, identification unit, communications and records groups and numerous other support units and positions. The employees serve a community of over 170,000 residents [2] in addition to an influx of more than 50,000 college students [3] and thousands of people who study and work in Tempe.


In July 2012, press reports showed that Officer Aaron Smith had been arrested for stealing money, bikes and other equipment from police headquarters.[4]


  1. ^ http://www.tempe.gov/police/AnnualReport/PoliceHistory.htm
  2. ^ http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04/0473000.html
  3. ^ http://diversity.asu.edu/node/13
  4. ^ Tempe police: Officer resigns after admitting to theft, by Maria Polleta, Arizona Republic, 28 July 2012