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  • Pima County Sheriff Department

    I am taking the PCSO written exam on June 27, 2009. Can anyone tell me what subjects to expect on the written exam?

    This question is for Deputies, Why did you choose PCSO over TPD?

    Any response will be appreciated. Thanks

  • #2
    The bulk of the written exam consists of reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, etc. I believe that there is also a portion devoted to memorization and attention to detail. Essentially, you look at a picture for a period of several minutes, then the picture is removed. You then have to answer questions about the picture. Overall, the written exam is fairly simple. If you have graduated from high school, you shouldn't have any problems.

    Both TPD and PCSO are excellent departments and in my opinion, the best agencies in Pima County. They both have their respective advantages. I would recommend looking at both, then making up your own mind. I chose PCSO over TPD due to the level of independence that Deputies have. You often go to calls by yourself and do your own investigations. Furthermore, the department allows Deputies a greater latitude in making arrests, engaging in vehicle pursuits, etc than TPD does. Also, PCSO is the best equipped department in the County. Each patrol Deputy receives a take-home vehicle, department issued cell phone, taser, AR-15, road spikes, MDC, etc.
    Last edited by tweekhunter; 02-09-2009, 05:49 PM. Reason: spelling error

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tweekhunter View Post
      The bulk of the written exam consists of reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, etc. I believe that there is also a portion devoted to memorization and attention to detail. Essentially, you look at a picture for a period of several minutes, then the picture is removed. You then have to answer questions about the picture. Overall, the written exam is fairly simple. If you have graduated from high school, you shouldn't have any problems.

      Both TPD and PCSO are excellent departments and in my opinion, the best agencies in Pima County. They both have their respective advantages. I would recommend looking at both, then making up your own mind. I chose PCSO over TPD due to the level of independence that Deputies have. You often go to calls by yourself and do your own investigations. Furthermore, the department allows Deputies a greater latitude in making arrests, engaging in vehicle pursuits, etc than TPD does. Also, PCSO is the best equipped department in the County. Each patrol Deputy receives a take-home vehicle, department issued cell phone, taser, AR-15, road spikes, MDC, etc.
      My recollection of the test is similar to what TweekHunter said. I too agree that PCSO and TPD are hands down the best agencies in Pima County. TPD has a far busier call load than PCSO. Thats the reason I joined TPD. There are more hot calls, more foot chases..etc. Of course that means more of the routine and BS calls as well.

      PCSO does have a more liberal pursuit policy. That could be due in part to the fact that PCSO primarily patrols the less populated areas of Tucson. I would bet that over the course of a year, TPD has more pursuits than PCSO though. Its a simple math....more of the dirtbags that commit felonies hang out in the city limits. Also, TPD has the benefit of three helicopters. Its great for the non-pursuits when we follow the car till they bail.

      Ref the comment about going to calls by yourself, I actually like the fact that when I need a backup unit, I usually have one in a matter of seconds. Maybe Tweekhunter has more info, but I feel I have tremendous latitude in making arrests and completing investigations.

      PCSO has a tremendous advantage with their take home vehicles and laptops and tasers and issued cell phones. TPD is slowly coming up to par with their tasers and patrol rifle program. Spikes are available to all officers, you just have to put them in the car.

      One TPD advantage is their pay. The benefits and pay run circles around PCSO. The average TPD officer/sgt makes far more than their PCSO counterpart. This is from my observations and from PCSO officers I have spoken with.

      Either way, ride with both agencies. Both are great and have their pro's and con's. Hope this helped.

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      • #4
        I am thinking about making the jump across state lines to try PCSO. I must say these couple of posts have given me a WEALTH of information about the department. I'm waiting to hear back from a recruiter with PCSO to discuss something with them, and if all goes well, I'll be sending my app when they become available in June.

        According to the PCSO website, they have dates listed for each step in the hiring process....Backgrounds take 5 months?? Here in CA, they usually way shorter. The one I went though in CenCal was only a month long. I've never heard of a 5month-long background investigation. Can anyone shed some light on why it takes so long?

        I'm also considering TPD, as well.
        Last edited by Sig4U; 02-10-2009, 09:15 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sig4U View Post
          According to the PCSO website, they have dates listed for each step in the hiring process....Backgrounds take 5 months?? Here in CA, they usually way shorter. The one I went though in CenCal was only a month long. I've never heard of a 5month-long background investigation. Can anyone shed some light on why it takes so long?
          I believe it's closer to 6.5 months. This is due to the county's budget problems; I'm guessing it means an expectation of several hundred applicants, more man-hours per candidate, or possibly just a way to keep their options open due to the long wait for an academy date.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by k267af View Post
            I believe it's closer to 6.5 months. This is due to the county's budget problems; I'm guessing it means an expectation of several hundred applicants, more man-hours per candidate, or possibly just a way to keep their options open due to the long wait for an academy date.

            Oh ok. I'll be applying with Tucson PD in March and Pima County S/O in June. My first choice would be TPD but it doesn't matter who hires me first (although I'm thinking TPD will be hiring quickly for their July academy.....or so says their website).

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            • #7
              http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/mailstor...hru/281333.php

              Sheriff's academies to be canceled
              Budget cuts also force Pima agency to reduce workers
              By Jamar Younger
              ARIZONA DAILY STAR
              Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.23.2009
              The Pima County Sheriff's Department is shutting down its basic law enforcement academies for the rest of this fiscal year because of budget cuts. That could leave the county with no new deputies to fill open positions.

              The Sheriff's Department will cut back staff or suspend numerous units this fiscal year, including the school resource officers program, the border crimes unit, night detectives and DUI unit, said Capt. Christopher Radtke, commander of the Administrative Services division.

              The county's new fiscal year begins July 1.

              The department also has canceled three correctional officer academies, but the next academy is scheduled for September, which is in the next fiscal year, Radtke said. These academies train people to work at the jail.
              About 50 commissioned officers work at the basic law enforcement academy and the other units that will be suspended, Radtke said.

              The department expects to lose up to another 50 officers within the next calendar year, which will cause a shortage. Those deputies will not be replaced with new hires, he said.

              As a result, personnel from the training academy and other units will switch mostly to patrols and criminal investigations to help fill those openings, he said.

              An academy is tentatively scheduled for July 2010, but the budget will dictate whether that one is canceled or not, he said.

              The department is trying to make up for a $5.5 million budget cut this fiscal year and could be facing more cuts for the next fiscal year, Radtke said.
              The department has operated on a $118 million budget this fiscal year, which is less than the $123 million it needs to maintain its current staffing levels, he said.

              "We have to maintain the staff in the field, so when people dial 911, they'll get a deputy showing up," he said.

              The department serves the unincorporated areas of Pima County, including Vail and the Catalina Foothills.

              There are 449 officers, with about 200 assigned to patrols, he said.
              About 100 are assigned to the criminal investigations division and the rest are assigned to specialized units, he said.

              About 30 deputies graduate from each training academy, which lasts for 22 weeks and costs $1 million to operate, he said.

              The department usually holds two academies each year, he said.
              It has held only one academy this fiscal year, last October, he said.
              The Sheriff's Department isn't the only law enforcement agency in the Tucson area that has had to cut back on training new recruits.
              The Tucson fire and police departments have also had to cancel academies.
              The Tucson Police Department canceled its March academy, but it plans to have a class in July, said Lt. Quinn McCarthy, commander of human resources.

              A new class just started in January, McCarthy said.
              The January and July classes should minimize the department's attrition levels and help maintain the current level of officers, he said.
              The Tucson Fire Department is scheduled to hold its next training academy in July. The graduates from that class should make up for the expected personnel losses, said Tucson Fire Chief Patrick Kelly.

              "Whenever we have a recruit class, we'll always be short until those recruits graduate," Kelly said.

              The Sheriff's Department expects to maintain the current level of patrol personnel, but other areas, such as the DUI unit, border crimes unit and school resource officer program, will suffer, Radtke said.

              The department will have to cut back on patrols such as "wolfpacks," or personnel that target drunken drivers, he said.

              There also will be fewer DUI checkpoints in the county, he said.
              There are three officers currently devoted to the DUI unit, he said.
              The absence of school resource officers will create a void in area schools, he said.

              School resource officers teach drug-safety programs, in addition to responding to incidents at the schools, he said.

              "We won't be able to reach out and have a positive impact on the youth," he said. "I have to believe there will be a change."

              The department has about 20 law enforcement officers in the program, which will be suspended in May, he said.

              Other programs, such as the parks enforcement unit, community resources unit and special response team, will likely see staff cuts this fiscal year, he said.

              The suspended programs and units will come back, but it could take at least three years, he said.

              It will likely take four years to replace the officers who will be lost through attrition within the next year, he said.

              "We may not have the same level of service that we and the people have enjoyed in previous years," he said.

              Contact reporter Jamar Younger at 573-4115 or jyounger@azstarnet.com.

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