Derek Arnson, Director of Law Enforcement Outreach

Derek Arnson is a native of Arizona. He is married, 33 years, has 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Derek Attended Northern Arizona University (NAU) receiving a BS in Criminal Justice in 1991 and a M.Ed in Education in 2002. Derek was a member of the Lumberjack football team while attending NAU.

Derek joined the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) in the early 1990s after graduating from the AZ Law Enforcement Training Academy in Tucson. Derek enjoyed many assignments while at AZDPS as a Patrolman, Detective, and Sergeant. Some of these assignments were; Governor Security, Narcotics, SWAT, Internal Affairs, Recruiting, Canines, and the State Gang Task Force.

After his public service at the AZDPS, Derek competed for and earned assignments at the Gila River and the Nogales Police Departments as chief of police. Both of these assignments provided Derek an opportunity to learn more about municipal policing and community oriented policing practices. In 2010, during his time at the Gila River Police Department, his team developed a (5) year strategic plan based upon crime data analysis, response times, officer retention as well as community and governmental factors regarding a balanced police force addressing gang, drug, and violence against women to name a few. During his tenure as chief of police, crime went down.

In late 2012, Derek became the chief of police for the Nogales Police Department. While serving as chief, Derek served his community as an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice at the local community college, as an appointed member of the Nogales Unified School District Board, as a member of the Nogales Rotary and as a Boy Scout leader in the local unit. Derek’s ability to speak the native Spanish language of the many community members of Nogales, provided him with a great ability to connect with those he served.

Derek retired in 2017 from law enforcement. He now oversees the Traffic Management Group as a Senior Manager for the Arizona Department of Transportation. This group of professionals assists with the various disciplines of fire, law enforcement, tow and recovery, public works and others who respond, investigate and clear traffic related incidents on our state highway and transportation grids. He also oversees the emergency management, weather related operations, the State Traffic Operations Center (TOC) and the training of incident responders in a national model of training called Traffic Incident Management (TIM) which focuses on best practices and safety at these traffic scenes.

Personal: Derek has been a private pilot and owner of aircraft for over 30 years. He enjoys most sporting events, hunting, fishing and weight lifting. His father was his hero and his mother his angel. He has 4 siblings, one of which has been in local law enforcement for about 20 years. He is appreciative to those who fight for freedom and who protect those who can not defend themselves. He believes that the United States is the best country in the world and is proud to call it his country. In 2014, incoming Governor Doug Ducey invited Derek to his Transition Team, assigning him to the Crime, Justice and Child Safety Committee.