PHOENIX – Law enforcement agencies in rural counties tend to lose their deputies and officers to better-funded urban agencies, according to studies conducted by the Department of Defense but the Navajo County Sheriff’s Department has a unique approach by recruiting local candidates, building relationships with deputies and maintaining a competitive pay.

In Arizona, an issue that many law enforcement departments face is retention rates; how many personnel stay with the agency after the year. According to Arizona’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Arizona State Troopers lost 53 troopers in 2021. In 2021, the US Department of Justice conducted a study on rural communities and the struggle with retention rates. The study found that officers leave rural agencies for larger better funded departments because they offer better pay, to advance their career, officer safety and generally more support from the community. Other studies done by the DOJ found that the larger agencies in the same state will “poach exceptional officers from smaller departments”. Larger agencies also tend to provide better equipment and specialized training such as K9 handling, Forensics, Crime Prevention and other specialized units. Nationally, Law enforcement retention rates are a growing issue but Congress and several states are attempting to resolve the problem.

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