The Phoenix Police Museum

The Phoenix Police Department is the oldest department in the state of Arizona. The police department has its roots dating back to 1885 when the city of Phoenix was first incorporated. Since then, there has been a steady and evolving evolution in how the department handles its responsibilities. Over time, the department’s role and purpose changed from military patrols in town to a police force responsible for public order, enforcing laws, and responding to calls for service. The museum is located in Historic City Hall, 17 S 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003.

Phoenix Police Department

The Phoenix Police Department was established in 1885 and has been a part of the city’s fabric ever since. The department is responsible for protecting Phoenix’s citizens and property, as well as enforcing all laws within the city. The Phoenix Police Department currently has just under 900 sworn officers and more than 1,100 civilian employees. The department is led by Chief Paul Penzone and his command staff. The department’s history dates back to 1881, when Phoenix was first incorporated. At that time, the city was still a small, sparsely populated town. It wasn’t until 1885 that Phoenix’s first Police Department was formed and assigned one officer to patrol the newly incorporated city. In the early 1900’s, Phoenix’s population increased, and the city’s police force grew accordingly. Phoenix’s early law enforcement practices were influenced by the city’s former role as a military outpost. Officers wore military-style uniforms, conducted military-style patrols and had military ranks. By the 1960’s, changes in technology and the advent of civil rights movements brought about a reevaluation of police practices. Phoenix’s police force began to transition from a focus on military tactics to public order practices. During the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Phoenix’s population continued to increase, and the city’s police force did as well. In 1994, the department’s ranks increased by 100 officers to meet the challenges of Phoenix’s growing population. During the early 2000’s, the Phoenix Police Department restructured, creating five regional bureaus to better handle the city’s growing challenges. The department also restructured its force, realigning the department’s ranks with the needs of the city. Great post here.

History of the Phoenix Police Department and the City

Phoenix was founded in 1867 as a railroad town. The city’s population was small when incorporated in 1881, and there was little need for a police force. As the city grew, so did the Phoenix Police Department. In the early 1900’s, the department’s ranks increased to meet the challenges of Phoenix’s growing population. During the early 1960’s, the department made realizations about how they were conducting their law enforcement duties. They began to transition their practices to public order tactics, and by the 1990’s, had fully transitioned to public order based practices. In the mid-1990’s, Phoenix’s population grew faster than ever before. The city’s police force increased to meet the challenges of this growth.

Current Role of the PD and Future Goals

The primary function of the Phoenix Police Department is to protect the citizens and property of the city. In addition to this, the police department serves a role as a community resource and response team. These roles are sometimes referred to as non-emergency services (NES). The PD responds to non-emergencies such as noise complaints, animal control issues, or traffic violations. The PD also responds to 911 calls for service. The department focuses on public safety, not only during the call for service but also during the investigation of the call. The department is committed to building trust and confidence in the community. Learn more.


The Phoenix Police Department is one of the oldest departments in the state of Arizona. The department has evolved to meet the challenges of Phoenix’s growth and changing population. Today, the department is committed to building trust and confidence with the community while also remaining committed to protecting the citizens and property of the city. The department has a long history and is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department.

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