Arizona Department of Public Safety

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Arizona Department of Public Safety
Common name Arizona Highway Patrol
Abbreviation DPS
Patch of the Arizona Department of Public Safety
AZ - DPS Badge.jpg
Badge of an Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper
Flag of Arizona.svg
Motto "Courteous Vigilance"
Agency overview
Formed July 1, 1969; 52 years ago (1969-07-01)
Employees 2,005 (as of 2004)[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Arizona, U.S.
Size 295,254 square kilometres 113,998 square miles
Population 6,338,755 (2007 est.)[2]
Legal jurisdiction Arizona
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 2102 West Encanto Boulevard, Phoenix, Arizona 85009, USA
Troopers 1052 (as of 2011)
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 Jeffrey Raynor, Technical Services Division
  • Assistant Director Andy Vazquez, Agency Support Division
Districts 12
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

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 30-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 (like the AZ/HP) 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.

The vehicle of choice for the Arizona DPS/HP is 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, F'N Herstal FNS Long Slide chambered in .40 S&WSIG Sauer P226 chambered in .40 S&W (or the alternative issue SIG Sauer P229 in 40 S&W), for long guns, 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. AZ DPS SWAT Troopers are issued fully automatic LWRC short barreled rifles.

Rank structure

Title Insignia
Director - Colonel
US-O6 insignia.svg
Deputy Director - Lt. Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
Assistant Director - Lt. Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
Blank - Spacer.png

Old ranks

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
        • Management Services and Training
        • 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
        • State Capitol Police District
        • Aviation Section
        • Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Districts
      • Technical Services Division
        • Compliance and Information Services Bureau
        • Records and Identification Bureau
        • Wireless Systems Bureau
        • Information Technology Bureau
        • Operational Communications Bureau
        • Scientific Analysis Bureau
        • Material Resources Bureau
      • Agency Support Division


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.

Arizona Highway Patrol

The Arizona Highway Patrol is divided into 12 districts:

Aviation Bureau

The Aviation Section consists of four Air Rescue helicopter units, a fixed-wing Air Support unit, an Aircraft Maintenance unit, and administrative staff.

Commercial Vehicle Enforcement

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

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

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

Criminal Investigation Division (CID)

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

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, coordination of financial and human resource services.

Technical Services (TSD)

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. CJSD also develops, operates, and maintains the data processing and data/voice communications systems statewide and operates facilities management and logistical support.


  • White: 82%[5]
  • Hispanic: 14%[5]
  • Native American: 2%[5]
  • African-American/Black: 1%[5]
  • Asian: 1%[5]

Fallen officers

Since the establishment of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, 29 troopers and one civilian have died in the line of duty.[6] The agency, along with the Arizona Highway Patrol Association, remembers each fallen officer at their annual memorial that takes place the first Monday of May.[7]

Officer Date of death Details
Louis O. Cochran
December 22, 1958
Vehicular assault
Paul E. Marston
June 9, 1969
Gilbert A. Duthie
September 5, 1970
James L. Keeton
February 5, 1971
Don A. Beckstead
February 7, 1971
Alan H. Hansen
July 19, 1973
Gregory A. Diley
December 2, 1977
Automobile accident
Noah Mack Merrill Jr.
December 11, 1978
Struck by vehicle
John C. Walker
November 30, 1979
William H. Murie
November 19, 1980
Struck by vehicle
Thomas P. McNeff
October 2, 1983
Aircraft accident
Richard G. Stratman
October 2, 1983
Aircraft accident
Bruce A. Petersen
October 20, 1987
Automobile accident
Edward A. Rebel
June 28, 1988
Johnny E. Garcia
October 14, 1989
Automobile accident
John M. Blaser
August 31, 1990
Vehicular assault
David George Gabrielli
August 31, 1990
Vehicular assault
Manuel Hurtado Tapia
January 8, 1991
David Jon Zesiger
July 3, 1992
Vehicular assault
Mark Maynard Dryer
July 3, 1993
Vehicular assault
Michael L. Crowe
July 4, 1995
Robert K. Martin
August 15, 1995
Douglas Edward Knutson
January 2, 1998
Struck by vehicle
Juan Nieblas Cruz
December 9, 1998
Vehicular assault
Floyd James Fink Jr.
February 18, 2000
Vehicular assault
Brett C. Buckmister
March 21, 2000
Automobile accident
Bruce Wesley Harrolle
October 13, 2008
Aircraft accident
Chris Marano
December 17, 2009
Struck by vehicle
Matthew Uhl
September 20, 2011
Automobile accident
Timothy. A. Huffman
May 6, 2013
Vehicle struck by semi

See also


  1. USDOJ Statistics
  2. 2007 Population Estimates
  3. "CONTACT INFORMATION." Arizona Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on January 9, 2011. "Physical Address 2102 W Encanto Blvd Phoenix, AZ 85009"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 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. [1]

External links