2022 State of the State Address: Supporting Public Safety Professionals

News Release

January 10, 2022

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today renewed Arizona’s longstanding commitment to  law enforcement with the announcement of a significant increase in salaries for troopers in the Department of Public Safety. 

“When we need them, Arizona law enforcement is there,” Governor Ducey said in his State of the State address to the Arizona Legislature. “No matter the circumstance. No complaints; no virtual work.”

The Governor, who has championed law enforcement since taking office in 2015, called for making Arizona’s more than 1,100 State Troopers the highest paid law enforcement professionals in the state. 

“When it comes to building a budget, public safety will always be at the top of our list,” he said. “And this year, we have a record surplus. So our budget proposes making our state Troopers in Arizona the highest paid law enforcement professionals in the state. I know you agree – they’ve earned it.”

The proposed raise, which will be included in the Governor’s Budget Proposal, would increase Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper salaries by 15 percent. The increase would place starting Trooper pay at the top of Arizona law enforcement agencies.

“Governor Ducey has consistently placed his faith and confidence in the Department of Public Safety,” said Col. Heston Silbert, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “While we don’t do what we do for the money, we are humbled by this proposal and thank the governor for his long-standing support of men and women in uniform.”

Col. Silbert, who has served as DPS director since March 2020, leads a team of troopers who’ve assumed an increasingly large role in public and border safety throughout the Governor’s time in office. Last month, for example, troopers seized 664 pounds of methamphetamines and 37 pounds of fentanyl over a one week period. Street value of the narcotics was more than $5 million. And in November, troopers seized a deadly cache of fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine valued at more than $1.7 million.

Fortifying Cybersecurity Across The State

Building upon previous actions to fortify cybersecurity across the state, Governor Ducey is prioritizing investments in cybersecurity to protect the identity and data of our citizens. 

The Governor said during his State of the State Address that one area of focus this year is “investments in cybersecurity to protect the identity and data of our citizens.”

Governor Ducey proposed a partnership across statewide government organizations to enhance cyber resiliency. With cyberattacks rising, local governments and school districts are at a major disadvantage and lack resources needed to defend themselves. Cybersecurity is critical in protecting Arizonans. 

Governor Ducey’s proposal includes:

  • Investments to fund a cyber grant program

  • Providing local governments and school districts across the state with the same cyber tools used by the State of Arizona Executive Branch. The tools would be at the same cost as the state, bolstering anti-phishing training, multi-factor authentication, firewalls and more.

“We are seeing a significant rise in cyberattacks and it is a direct threat to the safety and security of our entire state,” said Tim Roemer, director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security. “From our largest counties, to our smallest cities, and all of our school districts, we continue to see a need for more resources to defend the state. This new investment is a significant step forward that will dramatically improve government organizations ability to protect themselves from modern threats by giving them the ability to have the same tools that we have.”

BACKGROUND

In October 2021, Governor Ducey launched Arizona’s new Cyber Command Center at the Department of Public Safety’s Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) in Phoenix. The Cyber Command Center serves as the state’s headquarters for coordinating statewide cybersecurity operations.

In March 2018, Governor Ducey issued an executive order creating the Arizona Cybersecurity Team. The group was made up of experts from state, local, and federal government, the private sector, and higher education, working together to protect Arizonans from cyberattacks. Among their objectives were enhancing cybersecurity workforce development and education and increasing public awareness of cybersecurity best practices.

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