With the rapid growth of the Queen Creek Police Department (QCPD), a lease agreement with Maricopa County Community Colleges has made it possible for the department to utilize the second floor of the Communiversity for work and office spaces.
The Communiversity, located at 21740 S. Ellsworth Road in Queen Creek, had available space on the second floor and had been leasing out rooms for a variety of different activities, according to Queen Creek Police Chief Randy Brice.
“We were spread between five different buildings,” said Brice. “That’s not really conducive to be so spread out, so this was a great opportunity and very economical for us to be able to centralize everyone into basically two locations.”
The QCPD currently has 89 positions total, with 75 of those positions consisting of sworn officers of all ranks. The department has filled all vacancies for this year but is already starting to hire for next year. Brice explained that the early hiring ensures the new hires are ready to go by the time the new year is here.
“From the time the job is posted to the time someone is hired, you could be looking at anywhere from three to six months, depending on the process,” Brice explained. “Additionally, training is another six to 18 months, depending on if it’s a lateral hire or someone new.”
In addition to the 89 current positions, the QCPD is proposing another 21 positions for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, which would bring the total number of budgeted and grant-funded positions to 110. Whether the proposal is approved or not will be decided by the Town Council on May 17.
Brice was the first employee hired for the new department back in July of 2020 and they began hiring more staff toward the end of the year. They essentially had about a year to put the police department together and the QCPD officially launched in January 2022.
Brice, who has been involved in law enforcement for several years throughout Arizona, said space was an important issue when he first came aboard so they began by developing a master plan based on space needs for the next 20 years.
“The challenge, to be honest, was that we didn’t have a whole lot of data to show us staffing needs, this was our best guess based on the information provided by MCSO (the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was patroling the town before the formation of the QCPD),” said Brice. “We were able to time the master plan development with getting at least six to eight months of data and then we rounded it off for the whole year towards the end. The Town Council adopted our master plan, which basically sets out the next 20 years of building needs based on our best information we have today.”
In terms of infrastructure, Brice explained that the plan is to add four more complexes to accommodate staff and operations needs over the next few years. He added that design processes have already been started for complex one and that complex two, which will be an expansion of their current headquarters, should begin their design processes within the next two months.
“Complexes one and two will really be the focus over the next five years of plans, followed by complex three between six and 10 years and complex four will be sometime after the 10-year mark,” said Brice.
For now, Brice is looking forward to the future of the department and is proud to have been with it since inception.
“I have over 30 years of law enforcement experience and this has been by far the pinnacle of my career to get the opportunity to build the department from scratch and to come in and create a culture that truly serves what the community wants,” Brice said. “That’s probably been the most rewarding and exciting part - of seeing that fulfillment of the council’s vision and the community’s ask and it’s very rare to be able to do it from the very start.”
To learn more about the QCPD, visit their website here.