The Law Enforcement Merit System Council was established in 1968, replacing the Merit System Council which had existed since 1948. (Laws 1968, Chapter 200). Statutory authority is found at ARS §§ 41-1830.11 through 41-1830.16.
The Law Enforcement Merit System Council (Council) provides an employment classification and compensation plan for employees who hold covered positions within the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), and personnel of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AzPOST).
The Council consists of five members, appointed by the Governor to three-year terms.
The Council is required to adopt rules regarding: standards and qualifications for classified positions; fair and impartial selection and appointment, probation, promotion and removal from service; performance appraisals; hearings of employee grievances; appeals; and hours of employment, including annual and sick leave. The rules apply to all full-authority police officers who serve in a covered position and who are required to be AzPOST certified.
DPS, established as a state-level law enforcement entity in 1969, provides administrative support to the Council. DPS also supports the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (Arizona Auditor General Report No. 11-01 p.2)
The subject of a merit system as part of personnel administration based on qualifications and competitive exams appears in state historic documents from the 1940s. A merit system council was established in December 1943, pursuant to an agreement among three state agencies (health, welfare and employment security) whose employees were required by federal law or regulation to be under a State merit system (i.e. if those agencies are to be eligible for federal aid for administering their programs). (AZ Docs – MSC 001)
The Arizona Highway Patrol Merit System Council was formed by initiative of the voters on November 2, 1948. The initiative applied to the Highway Patrol Division of the Arizona Highway Department, fixed the number of patrolmen and their duties, provided for selection, retention, dismissal and compensation on the basis of merit, and created a merit system council. Council members were appointed by the Governor and could only be removed for cause, by the Arizona Highway Commission.
According to the Council, its purpose is to ensure that Arizona has a statewide law enforcement agency free from political influence. At the time it was created, it was the only merit system in Arizona. (Sunset Review of the Law Enforcement Merit System Council, Committee of Reference Report, January 3, 2008.)
The Special Legislative Committee on State Operations “Report on General State Organization” (three volumes) examines the organization of the state government of Arizona, and provides recommendations to consolidate, curtail or eliminate agencies. The report is dated December 15, 1949 and was written by Griffenhagen & Associates of Chicago, IL. The report states the committee was established to investigate various departments and institutions with regard to efficiency in government and to devise a plan of administrative organization for the state’s executive department. The report describes the existing organizational structure of the state, provides options for consideration and includes a discussion of a personnel system and merit system council specifically. (See Volume 1, Section IV, pages 13-16 and Volume 2, Section VI, page 2. Arizona Memory Project Website )
Laws 1968, Chapter 200 established the Law Enforcement Merit System Council in Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes relating to Transportation (Arizona Revised Statutes §28-235). The 1968 law represented a broad legislative enactment, creating a state personnel administration and a state personnel commission. The measure also revised provisions regarding the Council. Terms for Council members were set at six years. The length of terms remained unchanged until 2012, when terms were changed to three years (Laws 2012, Chapter 321).
Laws 1995, Chapter 132 represented a comprehensive revision of Arizona laws regarding transportation. It repealed three titles of the Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 2 (Aeronautics), Title 18 (Highways and Bridges) and Title 28 (Transportation) and completely rewrote Title 28. The 1995 legislation transferred the Law Enforcement Merit System Council from Title 28 to Title 41 (State Government), effective October 1, 1997.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §41-1830.11 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1968, Chapter 200
- Laws 1995, Chapter 132
- Laws 2012, Chapter 321
- Arizona Auditor General Office, Report No. 11-01 http://www.azauditor.gov
- 1948 Publicity Pamphlet, Initiative Measure, page 11, section 2.
- Sunset Review of the Law Enforcement Merit System Council by the Senate Judiciary and House of Representatives Natural Resources and Public Safety Committee of Reference on December 12, 2007. Report dated January 3, 2008. Arizona Memory Project Website
- Report on General State Organization, December 15, 1949. Arizona Memory Project Website
- Master List of State Government Programs