If you’d like to know more about the pay issue your Arizona State Troopers and the Department of Public Safety are facing, you can read the facts here. This is the Annual DPS Pay Report, a document of public record detailing the problems.
Annual Report on Personnel and Compensation
September 1, 2019
Arizona Revised Statute 41-751 (D) requires the Department of Public Safety to prepare an advisory recommendation on salaries of its personnel. The recommendations for Fiscal Year 2019 support several compensation objectives essential to maintaining the current service levels provided to the citizens of Arizona. The objectives include:
- Narrow the difference in compensation between department personnel and overall public and private labor markets in Arizona in an effort to become a competitive employer.
- Reduce the costly effects of turnover by providing monetary incentives that encourage employees to remain in state service.
- Retain sufficient personnel to provide ethical, effective, efficient, and customer oriented state-level law enforcement services to the citizens and visitors of Arizona as outlined in the department’s mission.
- Increase the department’s ability to compete with local agencies for qualified applicants, where municipal agencies have attractive monetary incentives to entice applicants who would otherwise consider the department as a career.
Recruiting and retaining the most highly qualified employees for the Department of Public Safety are critical to these objectives. Research and surveys confirm department employee salaries are still well below their market competitors and continue to fall further behind.
As of July 1, 2019, there were 1 ,920 full-time employees with the Department of Public Safety of which 1,127 (59 %) were sworn and 793 (41%) were professional staff (civilian).
Based on the most recent salary survey conducted in August 2019 (see Appendix A), the average department sworn salary is 15.1% behind market competitors. Only twelve of the 42 law enforcement agencies surveyed statewide have officer salaries below the department’s maximum trooper pay.
A salary survey conducted in August 2019 on a sampling of professional staff classifications within different job families shows that professional staff salary levels would currently require an average increase of 17.9% to reach their market competitors (see Appendix B).
Due to salary levels, the department is experiencing significant difficulties filling a number of critical vacant positions within the Information Technology Bureau, the Telecommunications Bureau. and the Operational Communications Bureau. The department is continuing efforts to employ new state troopers to reduce the 16% vacancy rate in the Highway Patrol Division and the 18% vacancy rate in the Criminal Investigations Division.
In FY 2019, the department experienced a turnover rate of 7.4% for sworn personnel and 12.9% for professional staff. There were 185 employee separations from the department, including retirements, of which 86.5% were regrettable attrition (see Appendix C).
There were 83 separations of sworn personnel during the fiscal year, of which 45 (54%) were a result of retirement. The sworn regrettable attrition rate was 86.7%. The professional staff regrettable attrition rate was 86.3%; of the 102 separations during the fiscal year, 29 were retirements.
Public safety services have a significant impact on the welfare of the state and its citizens, requiring employees to have a considerable amount of training, knowledge, and experience. The experience required to become fully proficient normally takes employees three to five years to acquire. During this past year, employees with more than three years of employment represented 56 (50.4%) of all non-retirement separations, thus requiring the department to rely on a less-tenured employee population to service the growing and diverse needs of the state. The retention of experienced employees continues to be of significant concern to the department and will require additional resources to reverse this trend, promote internal equity, and to meet the staffing needs of the department.
The department’s sworn employees received a 10% adjustment for FY 2020. At the same time sworn salaries of competing agencies around the state have continued to increase with no reductions. Department sworn salaries would need an average increase of 15.1% to reach market in terms of base pay. As shown in Appendix D, the cost to bring sworn salaries to market levels in FY 2020 is $28.73 million.
The department’s professional staff received a 5% salary increase for FY 2020. As with all state employees, compensation was reduced by 2.75% in FY 2011 with the elimination of performance pay. The department estimates professional staff would need an average salary increase of 17.9% to achieve market pay. As shown in Appendix D, this increase would cost a total of $11.3 million in FY 2019
Given the current sworn and professional staff salary base, the department would require an additional $11.9 million (including Employee Related Expenditures) in FY 2020, after the appropriate market salary adjustments, in order to reach an industry average overtime budget of 4.8% of total payroll.
The Department of Public Safety is unable to offer competitive salaries which directly impacts the retention of current employees and the recruiting of highly qualified new employees. Department pay is more than 16% behind the compensation objective of paying competitive salaries at the market rate. In the long-term, the department seeks the ability to make small, regular adjustments to employee pay to meet increases in the cost of living. In the short-term, the department is optimistic that the state can provide a modest pay adjustment to prevent salaries from falling even further behind.