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Ariz. lawmaker says number of officers isn't stacking up

PHOENIX -- An Arizona lawmaker is urging future legislators and citizens to recognize the need for future pay increases at the Department of Public Safety.

In a statement, released Rep. Justin Pierce, Chairman of the Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee, Pierce suggested the agency is entering a period of a potentially acute staffing shortage.

The department is hiring, but according to the Arizona Highway Patrol Association, the number of officers hitting the streets isn't stacking up to the number of officers that are retiring or moving on to other opportunities.

"I think citizens should be aware and concerned," said union president Jimmy Chavez.

According to Pierce's released statement, "the fiscal year 2015 budget included a one-time appropriation of $3.3 million for DPS" to increase pay to personnel by 2 percent. However, some lawmakers maintain that the wages are not competitive and officers are looking for better opportunities within other agencies that can offer salaries of up to $10,000 more than what the State of Arizona pays.

"Just in the last couple of months, we've had a handful of officers retire," said Chavez. "I didn't expect them to leave, but obviously something came up."

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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