Position Overview

The Detention Officer position is a great place to start a career in law enforcement. It is an impressive employment option if you want to gain training while you work. You can expect on-the-job training, defensive tactics training, and may receive firearms training as well. You can gain valuable experience and knowledge which may assist you in testing for other positions within our department, if you so desire.

Although a career as a Detention Officer can be both personally fulfilling and rewarding, many people are not suited for this type of work. There are aspects of this position which applicants may not have considered prior to submitting an application. The position of Detention Officer often requires that the employee engage in activities and be placed in situations which many individuals find both physically undesirable and emotionally challenging.

It is important to evaluate the pros and cons of this type of work environment. It is essential for all applicants to carefully consider both the positive aspects and benefits of the position as well as some of its less attractive features before deciding to test for the position.

The Hiring Process

  1. The recruitment process begins by completing an online application. Those who meet minimum qualifications may be invited to an oral board interview and may proceed to a background investigation.
  2. The background investigation and polygraph examination focus on criminal activity; drug use/trafficking; honesty; misconduct in previous employment positions; discharge from the military service for other than honorable conditions.
  3. Final candidates may be invited to a psychological examination; pre-employment medical examination and a pre-employment drug test. Out-of-State applicants are responsible for any expenses incurred. However, Personnel Unit staff try to schedule convenient and efficient testing and examinations to hold applicants' travel costs to a minimum.
  4. For additional testing information, please contact the Police Personnel & Background Investigations Unit at 480-312-1933.

Start the Application Process

The Scottsdale Police Personnel & Background Investigations Unit reserves the right to change this process.

  • All test dates are tentative and subject to change.
  • Test dates may be cancelled on short notice.
  • Invitations to test may be rescinded at any time without advance notice.


The Detention Officer performs duties associated with: the operation of a jail, the booking and processing of arrested persons, and the welfare and security of prisoners.

Important Note: The Detention Officer position encompasses 24/7 shift that often require new employees to work weekends, holidays and at night/overnight.

Performs duties and responsibilities commensurate with assigned functional area which may include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following tasks:

  • Processes prisoners into the City's police detention facilities; searches person, property and facility for contraband.
  • Captures quality mug shots and fingerprints.
  • Secures and inventories prisoner’s personal property.
  • Grants and logs prisoner's phone calls.
  • Observes prisoners and logs security checks of prisoners being detained in cells.
  • Completes booking sheets and records entries into the detailed booking logs; operates computer to obtain booking number.
  • Restrains combative, suicidal, argumentative, or mentally disturbed prisoners.
  • Determines if prisoners are ill or injured and obtains medical attention as necessary.
  • Prepares and feeds meals to prisoners.
  • Maintains jail facilities and equipment and conducts routine prisoner cell inspections.
  • Administers intoxilyzer test to suspects.
  • Maintains detailed records and logs and completes forms.
  • Occasionally provides court testimony.
  • Determines release criteria of prisoners according to established procedures.
  • Determines bond amounts; coordinates with court clerks when bond is posted; disseminate paperwork to appropriate areas when prisoners are released or transferred; perform prisoner transportation duties.
  • Assists with City Court appearances.
  • Transports prisoners to and from court, county jail and other valley agencies.
  • Operates a PACE/ACIC/NCIC and Intergraph I-Informer terminal to retrieve warrant and records information on prisoner; confirms warrants from other jurisdictions.
  • Assists officers and citizens who need information; copies forms, prepares bond receipts, collects bond money, and reviews court orders and release papers.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Working Environment

  • Required to wear a uniform and follow department policies regarding hairstyles, facial hair (no beards), visible tattoos and/or body piercings, and jewelry for uniformed personnel.
  • Not guaranteed daily lunch/dinner or breaks, or you may have to leave from a lunch/dinner or break to process or transport prisoners.
  • Wear personal protective gear, including gloves, bio-hazard suits, and protective masks, o protect against bio-hazards such as blood, urine, feces, saliva and other blood borne pathogens (such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, and/or other diseases, such as Tuberculosis, or MRSA.
  • Be able to control your behavior and remain calm and professional under stressful situations including controlling combative and unruly detainees in an appropriate manner.
  • Work in an environment with detainees who are frequently intoxicated, angry, upset, irrational, or mentally disturbed and who might berate you, call you names, threaten you and your family, or be physically aggressive toward you or another detainee.
  • Frequently interact with police officers, detectives, court personnel and prosecutors.
  • Develop and maintain a professional demeanor and rapport with your supervisors, co-workers, prisoner population and other police/court/city staff.
  • Perform all the required job functions of a Detention Officer, including transporting of prisoners.

Work Schedule

  • Our Detention Facility operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and 365 days per year. The profession requires working staggering schedules that include day, evening, overnight and weekend shifts. Shifts consist of four (4) 10-hour days. Shifts may be changed, with advanced notice, to accommodate the needs of the Department.
  • Shifts are selected annually and are based on seniority. As a new employee you will most likely be working least desirable shifts which may include weekends, nights, and holidays.
  • Lateral movement between shifts is much more limited at our department than at bigger facilities or institutions. We do not have visitation, yard duties, or guard towers. As such, you may be working an evening, overnight or weekend shift for several years.
  • You may be called during your days off to come in to work. In the rarest of instances you can be ordered into work, regardless of what you have planned that day.


  • Be trained in defensive tactics which include specific tactics to control combative behavior.
  • Be trained to utilize restraint devices such as hand-cuffs, restraint chair and WRAP (patented safe restraint system).
  • The Detention Officers will be certified to carry a police department issued firearm and required to maintain firearms certification.

If this is a position you are interested in, know that there are many satisfying and rewarding aspects to the position.

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