Arizona Police History

Essay Example about Arizona Police History

May 16, 2019 at History Free Essays

Arizona Police

The Arizona law enforcement agency has a formal structure that works with different county departments to coordinate public safety. The police department structure in Arizona County underwent various changes in the past that led to the current state agencies. The police departments in Arizona have different job specifications depending on the duties they have. The law enforcement agencies in the state are under the funding of the government and private agencies. Being in charge of security in the state, the agency ensures that everything is in order ranging from highway patrol to narcotics and liquor control. The history of the Arizona police department law enforcement began in the early 1900s when the governor organized a small group of rangers called the "Arizona Rangers." The main duties of this group were to deal with rustling and smuggling of goods within the state. It had a great impact on the crimes as they reduced significantly. The group was disbanded eight years later before the Arizona got its statehood.

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Three years later, Arizona became a state and the security details changed as the county experienced the increase of criminal activities and highway accidents. After twenty-two years of statehood, the Arizona Highway Patrol came into existence due to the increasing number of accidents and unlicensed vehicles on the roads. It was under the Arizona Highway Department that was in charge of road safety. The first force in the state was under a superintendent who had 14 patrol officers whereby each one was assigned to one county. The department also had one desk sergeant (Dulles, 1997).

In 1967, the crime commission from the governor office recommended to create a single unit dealing with various law enforcement activities. The main aim of this move was to create an effective body dealing with various crimes within the state. In 1969, the Arizona Department of Public Safety came into existence. It took on all the duties of the highway patrol, the enforcement division dealing with the liquor license, control section and the division of narcotics. The department underwent various changes meeting modern demands that made it the present law enforcement agency.

The changes seen in the department mainly comprised the political moves that caused the changes in the structure of the enforcement agencies. The state was once a crime hotspot where criminals ran to hide and commit crimes. The need to have a state in the area led to the formation of different groups like the "Arizona rangers" to curb insecurity. Since Arizona is located near the Mexican border, it was difficult to control criminals moving from the U.S to Mexico or those moving to the U.S. This prompted the department to undertake various changes and measures that would curb insecurity.

The other thing leading to the changes in the structure was the demographics of the state. The state was inhabited by the people from different ethnic groups and it was common to find illegal immigrants who took part in criminal activities. Being a crime hotspot also meant that anyone who committed crimes in other states would rush to the county to hide. The murders committed by the criminals also forced the department to form a formal structure dealing with criminal activities. This has helped to control and regulate committing crimes and criminals rushing to the county to hide or execute their other criminal activities (Hillstrom, 2009).

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Political, Social, and Economic Changes in the U.S

During this time, many changes were taking place in the United States. This Progressive era was characterized by social and political reforms. The main goal of this era was political purification through elimination of corruption by exposing undercutting politicians. Prohibition was a key feature of this era. The main aim of prohibition was to destroy the local bosses whose bases were in saloons. Efficiency movements were a shift from the tradition forms of operation to modernized means. The era was full of politicians from both the republican and democrat side who wanted citizens to rule directly instead of the political bosses seen in the gilded era. The changes in the political scene became apparent when the Oregon voters passed the referendum process that allowed citizens to introduce or approve amendments to the constitution (Arizona Department of Public Safety, 1993). Through primary elections, the citizens reduced the power of political bosses. The amendments to the constitution including the Seventeenth Amendment were accepted.

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Economically, this era proved to be a success after the Panic of 1893 that went into a severe depression. The panic of 1907 was not as severe as the previous one and it only affected the financiers. The demand for more progressive interventions had initiated the weakness in economic. There was a decline in wages and unemployment was high. The reasons were attributed to the administration's policies in Wilson’s time. The Federal Reserve System came into existence due to the changes in fiscal policies and the stress in public finances. Several government agencies underwent transformations in a bid to improve on their efficiency. During the previous era, Gilded Age, the federal government was not involved in the economy. However, this changed during the progressive era as the middle and lower class population demanded for government involvement in economy and law and order issues. Immigration was growing steadily during this era since unskilled workers came from different countries. This increased power in the saloons, which did not go well with many prohibitionists (Leipnik & Albert, 2003).

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In the social scene, many changes took place, with the family being the focus. The family was the center and the pillar of America hence the immigrants were transformed to law-abiding citizens in an effort to foster safety and put an end to smuggling. In Arizona, the changes in the political and economic scene had an impact on the way the things took place. The changes in the politics, especially with the reduction in the power of political bosses, meant that citizens had more power to report criminal activities. Arizona had powerful saloons that were the bases of corruption and illegal activities. With the measures put in place to curb those activities, all that came to an end. Economic changes improved infrastructure making it easy to catch criminals within the area though it had little impact on policymaking (United States Government Accountability Office, 2011).


The process of becoming a police officer in Arizona entails meeting the minimum requirements that include a U.S citizenship, 21 years old, high school graduate, passing the medical and polygraph test. The applicant then goes to the academy for 585 hours. There are different types of police organizations within the state varying from their duties. There are seven organizations. The jurisdiction is based on the location of the organization and severity of the crimes. Coordination with other organization happens when the crime overrides the current jurisdiction. Each organization has various departments dealing with different safety and security issues.

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