Per Governor Brewer, the legislature is hearing House Bill 2571 in efforts to reform due process for state employees. During recent Senate and House Committees, the members of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) heard misconceptions about the similarities between how private business and police operate. In response, AHPA members and their families are rolling out an educational campaign today entitled: “We are DPS”.
AHPA is asking the Governor and legislature to not generalize the law enforcement profession with other state agencies or private businesses. “Our members feel that legislators are comparing the police profession to the private sector,” states Jimmy Chavez, president of the AHPA. “However, what other industry can you be investigated and lose your livelihood three different ways (criminally, civilly and administratively) for doing your job?”
The association is attempting to educate delegates about some of the services DPS provides through their campaign entitled, “We are DPS.” Current and retired police employees, family and friends are participating in promotion through attending legislative hearings, videos, emails, letters and social media (#WEAREDPS). AHPA members hope their campaign profiles some of the civilian police services the public does not often see or hear about.
Over the years, increased law enforcement related duties have been mandated to DPS and some of those responsibilities have been passed on to DPS’ exemplary, cost-effective support staff. Each specialized employee
contributes a significant job to a unit within DPS’ multi-faceted department. “Civilians pass rigorous background checks, are entrusted with sensitive information and help protect the public,” says Chavez. “From the DNA analyst that provides crucial evidence about a missing child to the investigator that tracks a sex offender, civilians are vital roles in DPS’ elite police network. Sworn officers and civilians, together, encounter dangers and provide citizens essential law enforcement services.”
AHPA opposes the language in the personnel reform bill that removes about 1,000 Department of Public Safety (DPS) civilians from their current Law Enforcement Merit System Council. “We have some of the best civilian police employees,” states Jimmy Chavez, President of the AHPA. “They want to be held to the same standards as a sworn officer. I believe that is a testament to the integrity and dedication of these public servants.” It is AHPA’s position that the current law enforcement merit system council for DPS employees provides one standard of service within a specialized industry.
Crime Lab video sent to the legislature:
Did you know many of these police forensic television shows were inspired by one of the most accomplished agencies from right here in Arizona? That’s right! Arizona’s Department of Public Safety has pioneered the way with their prestigious laboratory. In the 1980’s, the crime lab worked with the FBI and helped create the groundbreaking original DNA extraction techniques. Plus DPS is ONE of SIX labs in the nation that can test EVERY type of DNA, including mitochondrial.
The Criminalist profession is very specialized. Like police officers, these DPS civilian employees have passed rigorous background checks. They are entrusted to handle and analyze a wide array of evidence. Many of these skilled civilians have advanced educational backgrounds, including PhD’s. They have published articles in accredited peer reviewed journals, and have received awards of recognition, but most of all they help catch the bad guys!
The Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) encourages you to view this video or take a tour. These civilians are imperial to the law enforcement profession. Our members encourage you to consider them before making decisions on personnel reform. They are subject to the same liabilities as officers. What profession in the private sector can you lose your livelihood three (criminally, administratively and civilly) different ways?
Together – WE ARE DPS
DPS Photography Laboratory
Did you know that TWO Phoenix-based, highly skilled Department of Public Safety photographers are in charge of taking photos for most of the state? It is true. Two Highway Patrol Civilian Photography Specialists are on-call, 24/7, to respond to major critical incidents for over 6,000 miles of federal, state and local roads.
The lab primarily photographs vehicular crimes – everything from DUIs to some of the most gruesome collisions, autopsies or explosions. Periodically they are requested to go to children hospitals to document child abuse cases.
Their experience has led the Highway Patrol photographers to be sought out by many government bodies. They often work with rural and urban Arizona police agencies. The expert forensic photographers have been asked to testify in court or present photos. Many photos have led to successful judgments for the state of Arizona. Gary recounts one that saved the state millions of dollars…
The members of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association are very proud of the civilian experts in the photo lab. Their composure, experience in photography, education on how to process crime scenes and evidence presentations help protect innocent Arizona citizens. We invite you to take a tour of the highway patrol photo lab. Hear their stories. Their work is amazing!
Together – WE ARE DPS
************************** 911 Dispatchers email sent to the legislature: Many believe that “first responders” are police officers and fire/medical personnel. Others would say it is 911 employees who make the VERY first contact with a citizen in need. When someone dials 9-1-1, it is the voice of the call taker or dispatcher they hear. The calm and professional voice of reason breaking through the chaos of whatever is happening on the other end of the line. Meet Kelli: Kelli is one of many well-trained and dedicated civilian communications employees who work at the Department of Public Safety (DPS). For over seventeen years, she has dealt with a variety of incidents involving sick or injured children, shots fired, suicidal subjects, hazardous materials situations, collisions, search warrants, drug loads, barricaded subjects, and pursuits. Many times 911 callers are hysterical, panicked or in shock. Watch the video as she recounts one call that was especially memorable and the liabilities she is faced performing her job. The Arizona Highway Patrol Association is proud to represent the employees of our 911 communications centers located in Tucson, Flagstaff and Phoenix. Their attention to detail, calm demeanor and quick thinking help save lives every day. We invite you to take a tour and interact with these dedicated professionals as they respond to the needs of our citizens and the officers who protect them. Together – WE ARE DPS ************************** Introductory email sent to the legislature:
The Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) understands your time is valuable, and not all members of the legislature have been able tour the Department of Public Safety’s (DPS). So, we are taking DPS to you! We put together a series of videos that highlight units from our department, entitled “We are DPS”. DPS is a first class police agency, primarily due to all the dedicated employees. Law enforcement is a very specialized field, and it is commonly generalized that sworn officers conduct most of its business. However, our civilian staff makes up almost half of our agency and asked to perform some of the same duties as officers. They pass rigorous background checks, entrusted with sensitive information, and help protect the public. Sworn officers and civilians, together, provide citizens essential law enforcement services. AHPA hopes to profile for the legislature some of the most impactful civilian units in our department (as you decide on personnel reform measures). From the scientists in our nationally recognized crime lab to the highly skilled photographers that process crime scenes, AHPA hopes to show Arizona delegates how all DPS employees, sworn officers and civilians, face criminals together. Together – WE ARE DPS CLICK HERE TO WATCH OUR INTRODUCTION VIDEO CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE KPHO INTERVIEW REFERENCE PERSONNEL REFORM