Oro Valley

 police officers take part in Taser training at the main police station. The department will hire one officer this year, with a starting salary of about $45,000.

Courtesy Oro Valley Police Department

Police forces in Marana and Oro Valley are looking to add to their ranks.

The Oro Valley Police Department plans to hire one officer, who it will train in the fall, and the Marana Police Department wants to compile a list of qualified recruits to train later this year to fill openings as needed.

Sgt. Jose Alvarez, a Marana Police Department spokesman, said the department does not have a specific number of recruits it would like to identify, but that it will sift through applicants and create a ranked list of about 10 or so.

“What we are looking for is somebody eager to be a servant of the people. Police work isn’t just arresting people,” Alvarez said. “We want traits of being a leader and serving the community.”

Oro Valley has 100 officers. There are 81 officers on the Marana force.

Applicants will undergo background checks and a battery of physical and written tests. Competition will be stiff, Alvarez said, because police jobs do not open often. That’s been especially true in recent years, with the economic downturn.

“It will be pretty competitive. A lot of other agencies haven’t hired in a while,” Alvarez said. “The opportunity to become a police officer doesn’t come up too often. We are expecting a big group of candidates.”

Oro Valley placed a hiring freeze on its police department between 2008 and 2010. Marana, though, never enacted a similar move.

Lt. Kara Riley, a spokeswoman for the Oro Valley Police Department, said the town has changed the way it looks for recruits.

“We’re really pushing social media advertisements,” she said. “We’re finding that that’s the way this generation of police applicants prefers to hear about it.”

Starting Marana officers will make $46,280 annually after completing academy training. The deadline to apply is Sunday. To apply, visit www.marana.com/jobs.aspx online.

Oro Valley officers will start at $45,184. The deadline to apply is March 14. To apply, visit www.orovalleyaz.gov/police online.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com