The first step is to contact an agency for a job as a peace officer or a position as a reserve officer. The agency hiring process may include agency testing, physical ability testing, psychological testing and oral boards. The process will include a complete background investigation, polygraph and medical examination. If the agency chooses to hire an applicant, the agency notifies AZPOST by sending an appointment document to AZPOST. AZPOST audits all agency employment packages to ensure that the qualifications for certification are met. Those qualifications can be found in Rules R13-4-105, 106, 107 and 109. Applicants should be mindful that AZPOST establishes the minimum standards. Agencies are free to have stricter standards and many of them do. Applicants may not apply directly to AZPOST for certification. All applications for certification are handled through the appointing agency. Only after an agency chooses to appoint an applicant and makes the appointment does the certification application process begin.
The agency will enroll newly appointed peace officer recruits in the basic training academy of the agency’s choice. Each academy will provide the AZPOST Basic Peace Officer Course with the minimum number of basic training hours mandated by the AZPOST Board. Recruits must successfully complete all of the academy requirements and pass a Comprehensive Final Examination to become AZPOST certified. The AZPOST Waiver Process is a pathway for experienced officers to either gain or regain peace officer certification. This process consists of a written test, driving proficiency, firearms qualification and the POPAT (physical agility test). It is the appointing agency’s choice whether to send an applicant through a basic academy again or allow them to pursue the Waiver Process.
Certification becomes inactive upon termination, resignation, retirement, or separation from the law enforcement agency for any other reason. A person who has inactive peace officer certification has no law enforcement authority. A person with inactive certification who takes action as a peace officer under certain circumstances may be committing the crime of impersonating a public servant. In order to perform the duties of a peace officer or exercise the authority of a peace officer, a person must have both active peace officer certification and be authorized to exercise that authority or perform those duties by the appointing law enforcement agency.
Certification that has become inactive because a person has left an agency's employment remains inactive for three years. If the person gets appointed by another agency before the three years has passed, certification can be reactivated without additional training. However, every appointment must be preceded by the entire background process, polygraph, and medical examination. If a person has not held a valid peace officer appointment for three years, AZPOST certification lapses.
No. Certification does lapse after three years and there is nothing except a legitimate appointment by a law enforcement agency after a complete background investigation that will prevent it.
Applying for certification when lapsed is exactly the same as making an initial application for certification. The person must first get appointed by an agency that has determined the person meets all current AZPOST minimum standards for certification and pass the AZPOST audit. The applicant may be able to avoid attending an academy again, however, if they take and successfully complete the AZPOST Waiver Process. This consists of a written test, driving proficiency, firearms qualification, and the POPAT (physical agility test). It is the appointing agency’s choice whether to send an applicant through a basic academy again or allow them to pursue the Waiver Process.
Individuals may request a copy of their Arizona Certification Record by going to the 'Agency Forms' section and download the PR form.
If an applicant served honorably as a peace officer in another state or for the federal government and s/he meets all of the eligibility requirements, s/he may be certified via the AZPOST Waiver Process, and become certified without attending an Arizona academy. However, it is the appointing agency’s choice whether to send an applicant through a basic academy again or allow them to pursue the Waiver Process.
Some police academies may offer an enrollment option for individuals who want to attend at their own expense without the required appointment by an agency. These “Open Enrollees” may make application to the academy and must meet the same minimum standards as an appointed enrollee. Upon successful completion of the academy, an Open Enrollee is not a peace officer and does not have AZPOST certification. However, the person may be appointed by an agency after the complete background and hiring process if the person passes the AZPOST audit. Depending on the time elapsed since the academy, the person may be required to pass the Waiver test prior to certification.
AZPOST is concerned with past illegal drug use because it demonstrates a willingness or propensity to do illegal things and shows a lack of respect for the law. However, AZPOST recognizes that many people have experimented with marijuana or other illegal drugs. Therefore, AZPOST has adopted an illegal drug usage standard that would not prevent a person from becoming a peace officer in Arizona. The standard for marijuana is that a person could not have used marijuana in the last two (2) years. The standard for dangerous drugs or narcotics is that a person could not have used it more than five (5) times and not more than one (1) usage can be at 21 years old or older within the past seven (7) years. Additional information on the minimum hiring standards for a peace officer can be found in the AZPOST Rules. https://apps.azsos.gov/public_services/Title_13/13-04.pdf
AZPOST looks to a person’s conduct rather than the arrest record to determine suitability to be a peace officer. It is the commission of crimes that concerns AZPOST. Commission of crimes demonstrates a willingness or propensity to do illegal things. This shows a lack of respect for the law. Applicants will be asked to list all police contacts, whether as a suspect, witness or otherwise. Applicants will also be asked to disclose all undiscovered crimes, things that nobody but the applicant may even know about it. Complete disclosure and truthfulness on these questions is usually more important than what is disclosed. The only absolute bar to certification is the conviction of a felony. Other offenses will be reviewed on a case by case basis to see how the conduct reflects on the public trust in the profession and the ability of the individual to perform the duties of a peace officer, such as to testify credibly in court. Applicants’ answers to all background questions are tested and verified by polygraph.
There are numerous agencies (approximately 160) in Arizona that employ peace officers. Almost all city, county and state agencies maintain an employment section on their governmental websites. Each agency has unique attributes that may differentiate it from others. In addition to traditional law enforcement, you may find specialty peace officer positions in many state agencies. The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police website, www.azchiefsofpolice.org lists available positions that are provided to them for publication by government agencies.
There are states around the country that may recognize your AZPOST certification. You can view the other state employee requirements via their websites or you can send for a Reciprocity Handbook from the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST). The IADLEST Reciprocity Handbook consolidates police officer employment requirements gathered from all 50 state peace officer standards and training organizations (POST Agencies) and the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. See the links at the Employment Opportunities Page.
AZPOST does not currently have an academy program for those that have been in the Military and were trained extensively in specific law enforcement programs.