Jun 10, 2022 - News

Phoenix police officers will be highest paid in Arizona

Illustration of a police officer standing on the highest pile of coins in a row.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Phoenix police recruits will make $68,661 under a new recruitment and retention plan expected to be approved by the city council next week.

  • Recruits currently make $48,942 or $51,459 if they have college degrees.

Why it matters: Phoenix Police is short 481 sworn officers and has paid lower wages for recruits and officers than neighboring cities since the 2008 recession, making it hard to recruit and retain them.

The new salaries will be about 10% higher than any other law enforcement agency in the state.

  • Mesa Police: $62,418
  • Tempe Police: $61,367
  • Scottsdale Police: $60,216

What she's saying: "Phoenix is a big city. We have some of the most complex and diverse cases. We use the most diverse technology. It makes sense that we lead in terms of compensation," Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego tells Axios.

  • She says the department has lost officers to high-wage private security jobs and other Valley departments.

Details: The new pay scale will take effect Aug. 8 if approved by the city council next Wednesday.

  • Some current officers will see pay bumps, too, making Phoenix the highest-paying department in the state at all sworn ranks.
  • Officers making less than the new minimum base pay will be brought up to $72,779.
  • Officers that have maxed out the current pay scale will see increases over the next several years to bring their salaries up to the new maximum of $105,539.

The increased pay will be absorbed by the current city budget.

Zoom out: Police departments across the Valley and the country are facing significant staffing shortages, resulting in longer response times and fewer proactive policing programs.

  • Fewer people are entering the police academy and more people are retiring or leaving.
  • Law enforcement leaders across the country have blamed increased backlash against police and increased local oversight for the shortages.

Phoenix especially has seen heightened scrutiny and internal instability.

Gallego says competitive pay will allow the city to recruit and retain the "best and brightest."

  • "We want to pay well, train well and have the highest standards. Those go together. Some people cut to increase results, I say you have to invest," she says.
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