Strategic Plan & Studies

AHPA Strategic Plan

By formulating a strategic plan with long-range goals, the AHPA can maneuver through changing situations to achieve great successes.  The strategic plan helps identify possible opportunities and threats, and assists in making the best possible decisions.  This strategic plan focuses AHPA direction, aligns its daily efforts and helps the AHPA to be accountable for outcomes and successes.

AHPA Strategic Plan 2012-2016 (PDF)

AHPA Pay Scale Study

Below is a pay scale study that was completed by AHPA.  Please find below a letter that was sent on your behalf to every member of the 2011 Arizona legislature and the findings from the study.



During these difficult economic times the Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) is appreciative of your efforts to maintain the ability of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to continue its mission of protecting the citizens of Arizona and ensuring that our officers are safe while carrying out their duties.

There are numerous proposals being introduced that would affect state government employees and we would ask that you thoroughly evaluate proposals and decide if changes sought will assist in building a state workforce of the future and retain and attract quality employees to serve our citizens, not just for today’s economic times but for better economic times ahead.

We are supportive of Governor Brewer’s recommendation to eliminate furlough days in 2012 and see it as recognition of the sacrifices state employees have made over the past few years.  We understand that under pressure to further cut the state budget your hands are tied to try to address pay disparity at DPS and for other state employees. But in our effort to address the safe and strong future for Arizona, please consider the following information regarding our largest asset, state employees.

In 2009, the Arizona Highway Patrol Association commissioned Arizona State University graduate students Alia Eccles and Jonathan Mullen to conduct a study titled “Arizona State Employee Pay and Economic Impacts” on the wage and benefit differential between Arizona state government employees and their counterparts in other federal and local government sectors, surrounding states, and the private sector.  The study showed that Arizona state government employees are paid less than all other employers regardless of whether the employer was public or private.  When benefits, such as retirement and health insurance, were factored the comparison, Arizona state employees continued to lag behind other government sectors and brought them to a comparable level with private employers.  The study also showed that Arizona state government employees have a far larger workload than those of both public and private sector employees.  Keep in mind, this study was done prior to significant cuts to the Arizona budget due to the current economic downturn.

Since 2009, state employees have faced layoffs, pay cuts, furloughs, and increased cost for benefits along with the rising cost of living.  While we understand that measures had to be taken due to the overwhelming budget deficit, state employees have shared in the state’s financial woes.

This past December, we asked the authors of the pay study to update their findings to take into account the recent state employee pay cuts and furloughs.  While there was not enough time to do a complete reevaluation of the other public and private sectors, the conclusion was that Arizona must address how the state will attract and retain quality employees for the future.  Even in the prosperous years, the state did not bring up the pay of its employees to comparable levels with other employers and only has haphazardly increased employee pay.  While the current condition of the economy ensures that most state employees will stay in their current positions, the state needs to plan for the future and take a comprehensive look at how best to build a competent and loyal employee base.

And where does the Department of Public Safety fit into this study?  Every year the Department of Public Safety does its own comparison of the wages of other police agencies throughout the state.  Being the second largest agency behind the Phoenix Police Department; DPS compares itself to the other police agencies in Arizona.  From 2005 until 2009, the legislature had appropriated monies to increase sworn officer pay to bring DPS officers in line with comparable agencies due to the fact that DPS was having significant issues recruiting quality employees.

Current economic conditions have frozen hiring of new officers for most police agencies in the state including DPS.  DPS has lost over 200 Officers since 2008. Once hiring begins again the Executive and the Legislature will have to once again revisit this disparity due to the fact that DPS employees, both sworn officers and civilians, have fallen behind, and hopefully find a permanent solution to the cyclical dilemma.  Below is the latest chart showing the wage differential between DPS and comparable police agencies in Arizona for Officer and Sergeant ranks.

Officer 2010-2011 Top 5
Minimum Maximum
1 Tempe PD $56,742 1 Paradise Valley PD $77,555
2 Surprise PD $52,541 2 Scottsdale PD $76,981
3 Mesa PD $52,458 3 Tempe PD $76,694
4 Peoria PD $52,237 4 El Mirage PD $75,855
5 Paradise Valley PD $52,101 5 Surprise PD $73,570
Survey Average $   53,216 $   76,131
DPS Salary $   44,724 $   62,660
% Behind Market 15.96% 17.69%
% to Market 18.99% 21.50%

Sergeant 2010-2011 Top 5
Minimum Maximum
1 Tempe PD $84,363 1 Phoenix PD $98,218
2 Mesa PD $79,997 2 Peoria PD $97,136
3 Scottsdale PD $76,939 3 Tempe PD $92,552
4 Glendale PD $76,816 4 Avondale PD $92,352
5 Chandler PD $76,724 5 Surprise PD $92,269
Survey Average $   78,968 $   94,505
DPS Salary $   68,926 $   78,335
% Behind Market 12.72% 17.11%
% to Market 14.57% 20.64%