Jimmy Chavez KPHO 052012PHOENIX (CBS5) – According to Jimmy Chavez, the president of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association, the Department of Public Safety hasn’t hired a new officer since 2008.

“We’ve gone about four years since we put a new officer through the Academy,” Chavez said.

Chavez said DPS is down at least 100 officers.

“Plain and simple, it comes down to budget,” he said.

Chavez pointed out it isn’t because there aren’t any qualified people out there, but because there simply isn’t the money to hire them.

According to this year’s proposed state budget, that equals about 20 percent of the jobs at DPS that are open.

And they aren’t the only ones. The attorney general’s office shows a 27.2 percent vacancy rate. The Department of Environmental Quality shows more than 50 percent of jobs are open.

A spokesman with DEQ said cutbacks are to blame, but that they’ve absorbed the work and are moving forward.

CBS 5 News reached out to the attorney general’s office. They didn’t want to comment until after the budget was finalized.

To see the rest of the departments vacancy rates, click here and scroll to the spreadsheet at the end of the report.

Copyright 2012 KPHO (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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