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Tucson Police recruiting officers

Posted at 9:51 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 01:59:08-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) -- TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) -- For Tucson Police Patrol Officer Jamie Encinas, her job isn't always lights and sirens.

"It's a lot of getting to know your area, getting to know your people," Encinas said. 
 
Encinas patrols the midtown area, where she gets a little bit of everything. Like other officers, Encinas never knows what to expect when she goes out on a call.
 
On this particular Thursday afternoon, KGUN9 joined Encinas for a ridealong. Early in her shift she got a call that two people were heard arguing at an apartment complex.
 
"We were told it was fighting between one apartment and the apartment next door. Turns out it wasn't at all and it was male and female fighting inside the apartment," Encinas said. "Turns that wasn't at all either." 
 
Turns out that the man the apartment complex had called about had warrants, and was taken into custody.
 
"He missed a court date basically, so he'll get his court date in the morning," Encinas said.
 
Officer Encinas is still considered a rookie in what is predominantly a male field. She's one of 66 female patrol officers with TPD. There are about 478 officers assigned to patrol.
 
TPD is actively recruiting not just women, but other diverse, qualified people from our community, said Lt. Robert Garza. 
 
Garza says the department currently has openings for police officer recruits, community service officers and police service operators. The hiring process can take several months
 
"There have also been high profile media coverage of various police incidents throughout our country, and sometimes people become a little apprehensive about a career in law enforcement," Garza said.
 
Over the years the law enforcement profession has changed in many ways, Garza said, and TPD is focused on having a positive relationship with the community. Since Chief Chris Magnus joined the department earlier this year, he's emphasized community policing.
 
For Encinas, law enforcement was always intriguing. 
 
"I went to the military, and kind of got that teamwork and camaraderie built into my system," Encinas said.
 
She's once again found that camaraderie with TPD, and is learning that police work is all about the little things.
 
Within a few hours Encinas gave a jaywalker a warning. The previous night there was a pedestrian fatality, and another serious crash in Tucson. Recently, she's been dealing with a string of cigarette thieves. 
 
"It adds up. I mean they're stealing unhealthy stuff for one, and they're just taking them by the cartons," Encinas said. "And that's a lot of money lost for these businesses. That's hurting people somewhere."
 
While police relations across the country may be tense, some may be apprehensive to join the force. Encinas doesn't personally feel that tension in Tucson, and just wants to keep the peace. 
 
"It's not all lights and sirens, running around, chasing people with your guns drawn," Encinas said. "It's a lot of community based policing."
 
For more information about applying to TPD, visit this website or Facebook page.