An Exciting Career with The Tucson Police Department

At TPD we’re looking for candidates who are interested in an exciting, fulfilling career – not just another job.

Serving as a police officer is far from an ordinary lifestyle – you’ll find a level of excitement that is unmatched, with nearly limitless opportunities for career advancement and promotions from division to division. TPD values each person’s desire to grow professionally and realizes the importance of job variety in a career such as this.

We want men and women who are passionate about making a difference and committed to serving and protecting the Southern Arizona community. From starting as a patrol officer to working up the career ladder into more specialized assignments and beyond, you will find your professional niche here.


Promotions in the Tucson Police Department are hard-earned evidence of an individual’s dedication to the service of the Southern Arizona community.


Everyone sworn officer at TPD serves the first three years of their career as a patrol officer. No day is ever the same on patrol as these officers serve as the protective backbone for the Tucson community. There are three steps in serving the Tucson Police Department as a patrol officer. The first is actually being appointed to the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center, which is staffed by the Tucson Police Department. There you will learn what it takes to become an officer in the Tucson Police Department and graduate with an AZPOST certification.

The second phase begins after graduation from the Law Enforcement Training Center. You will then put your skills to work in post-basic training for eight weeks. Afterwards being assigned to one of five divisions, you’ll patrol a certain area of Tucson with a field-training officer (FTO) for 17 weeks of on the job training. The FTO will continue educating you on how to become a more effective police officer while you establish a solid foundation for your career. After completing the 17 weeks, then you will be a patrol officer and assigned to your first squad. A few responsibilities might include:

  • Patrolling designated areas, watching for suspicious activities
  • Investigating crime scenes
  • Interviewing and arresting suspects
  • Responding to routine and emergency calls
  • Educating the community about crime prevention
  • Attending public meetings

Community Project

After new officers have completed field-training program and are working in a solo capacity, they have six months to select and complete a community project within their patrol division. The project helps instill an awareness of and attention to a specific sector’s issues and crime trends as well as taking the first step in community policing.

The project also allows each new officer an opportunity to address a neighborhood issue and identify methodology and resources (outside of the TPD) to help solve it. TPD takes the philosophy and responsibility of community policing seriously. We believe in being as proactive as possible, locating the underlying problem at the root rather than being reactionary.

This project will help the new officer become immediately acquainted with the division neighborhood problems and positively impact the community.

Special Assignments

After three years of serving on patrol, you will be able to process into other specialized assignments. This is the first of many chances to move from one division to another and gain new skills throughout your career.

With more than 30 different assignments in the Tucson Police Department, there are many different aspects of law enforcement where you can expand your career.  While many officers stay in patrol, some move on to other assignments and become SWAT, motorcycle officers, pilots, public information officers, K9 units and bike officers. Acceptance into such assignments can mean a salary increase of 5 percent.  Many of these positions are highly competitive and often take more than three years of experience to be selected.


After serving three years as a Tucson Police Officer, you can take the Civil Service Process for the highly competitive position of Detective.

Initially, detectives begin with a specialized division such as narcotics investigation, undercover narcotics or criminal investigation. They will sometimes respond to crime scenes, but most often conduct follow-up investigations as well as case preparation for issuing with the Pima County Attorney’s office.


After serving five years as a Tucson Police Officer, you can take the Civil Service Process for the highly competitive position of Sergeant.

Sergeants supervise a squad of police officers or civilian employees and instruct them on how to perform their duties. Their responsibility is quality control and adherence to General Orders and standards. Sergeants may be assigned as patrol supervisors or detective supervisors by selection of the unit’s command staff.


After three years as a Sergeant, Sergeants can enter the civil service process to be put on the selection list to be considered for appointment to Lieutenant—as positions become available.

Lieutenants must have exceptional leadership, communication and organizational capabilities, because they are the ones who oversee and direct a multitude of different areas within TPD. Many times they’re in charge of sworn and civilian employees, a 24-hour team in a division of the TPD, or an investigational unit.


After one year as a civil service Lieutenant, Lieutenants are eligible to be appointed Captain. The Captain’s patrol division is a reflection of their leadership and they must be the type of person who can bring a group of individuals together to work together toward a common vision.

Assistant Chief

The Assistant Chief is appointed to that position by the Chief of Police. This is the equivalent to a vice president of a company, as the Assistant Chief reports to the Chief of Police. The Assistant Chief oversees one particular bureau or an office made up of multiple bureaus within the police department.

Chief of Police

The highest-ranking officer in any police department. In Tucson, the Chief of Police reports to the city manager, mayor and City Council, via the assistant city manager in charge of public safety and oversees the entire TPD force, enforcing the state and national laws and the city ordinances. The COP is also responsible for testifying before the City Council, the state and national legislatures on law enforcement issues and matters of importance to the City of Tucson.

Non-sworn Positions at TPD

You can serve in the Tucson Police Department without actually becoming a police officer. TPD’s non-sworn positions are jobs filled by civilian employees. Non-sworn employees don’t go to the academy and don’t wear the uniform, but still serve in a variety of vital roles for TPD.

Such positions include Police Dispatcher, Service Pperator and Records Specialist, as well as Clerk Transcriptionist, Evidence Technician and Identification Technician. Non-sworn employees also receive excellent benefits such as full medical and dental insurance, a retirement program, sick leave and vacation as well as reimbursement for education.

Make a difference, commit to joining the Tucson Police Department.