Serving Arizona State University Online Since 1995  Current Issue: Tuesday, January 15, 2008





Boys in blue seeing more green

Demand, salaries for police officers rising as Valley population booms, officers retire

 by Matt Culbertson
 published on Tuesday, January 15, 2008

<b>ON PATROL:</b> Field training officer Ron Goode patrols the Arizona State campus Monday as a part of his daily routine./issues/news/703078
Jeffrey Lowman / THE STATE PRESS
ON PATROL: Field training officer Ron Goode patrols the Arizona State campus Monday as a part of his daily routine.


There's a wide open job market and a growing demand for ASU students who want to pursue jobs in law enforcement, Valley police spokesmen said.

The demand for law enforcement is growing around the Valley, and departments are competing for new talent, said Scott Decker, the director of ASU's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

The increasing size of the Valley, combined with the retirements of police veterans are among the factors contributing to the need for more law enforcement, Decker said.

ASU Police Cmdr. Jim Hardina said the employment situation for people entering law enforcement is the best he's seen during in his 20 years on the force.

"Generally speaking, in the Phoenix-metro area, there's a large demand for police officers," he said.

SCCJ is hoping to capitalize on the growing need for students in law enforcement, Decker said.

"Students interested in working in the criminal justice system with a bachelor's degree are in an outstanding position for employment," Decker said. "Everyone in the Valley, including the ASU Police Department, is competing for the same qualified applicants."

The school, which has been at ASU since 2006, has approximately 700 undergraduate students and 70 graduate students, Decker said.
SCCJ, located at the West campus, is working in partnership with police departments in local cities, including Mesa, Scottsdale and Phoenix, to graduate more students into law enforcement positions, he added.

Tuesday is the first day the school will offer courses at the Tempe campus, Decker said.

But the number of people actually going into the field is not as high as it used to be, said Kevin Robinson, assistant police chief for the Phoenix Police Department.

Robinson, who has taught classes for SCCJ at the West campus for three years, said the demand for new talent in law enforcement is "tremendous."

While a college degree in the criminal justice field is not always a prerequisite to employment, it is valued, he added.

"ASU West is a very important partner," Robinson said.

Criminal Justice and Criminology sophomore Joey Ramirez said he has wanted to go into law enforcement since he was very young, but the high demand for police officers had an effect on his career plans.

"They're hiring like mad right now," Ramirez said.

He said he plans to be a police officer for the Phoenix Police Department, where his father works.

The Tempe Police Department is currently one of the highest paying police departments in the state, said Tempe Police Sgt. Mike Horn.

Starting pay for Tempe police officers is approximately $54,000, not including benefits and other incentives, he said.

Horn added that now is the best time he has seen for people to enter into jobs in law enforcement.

"There's strong competition for qualified applicants," Horn said. "I've been here 11 years, I can only speak for that, but I think the opportunities are limitless right now."

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