Executive Director of AZPOST explains why there’s a shortage of Arizona police officers

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Arizona municipalities are facing a shortage of police officers, with the City of Phoenix short by as many as 1,000 officers. We talked about what’s happening in police departments around the state with Matt Giordano, Executive Director of AZPOST, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

Why is there a shortage?

“In my role, I have connectivity to sheriffs, chiefs, directors from all over the state… and in all of those conversations, retention and recruitment are at the forefront of all of those conversations and there’s not one specific reason why. I think you can point to a good job market, you could point to people going different directions, you could talk about the current climate for police officers,” Giordano said.

Giordano said that he believes that the overall sentiment for the police force community isn’t the same as it was when he started 27 years ago.

The shortage, “hits every area, it’s a state-wide problem. Some of your rural areas have a little bit harder time because their pool of advocates is smaller. Oftentimes men and women don’t want to relocate out of their communities to become a peace officer,” Giordano said.

He said he believes retirement is a bigger reason for the police shortage than a retention problem. There’s an ability to retire after 20 years on the police force and if you go back 20 years, there was a hiring boom in law enforcement and now these individuals are at their retirement age.

Giordano also explained that it also can be the other two factors of retention and recruitment but they’re seeing retirement as a large reason.

“Most agencies are looking to increase the sizes of their police forces and we’re looking to help them with that, but that’s not what we’re seeing,” Giordano said.

Matt Giordano, Executive Director, AZPOST

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