Two people booked into La Paz County Jail this past week were arrested not by La Paz County Sheriff, nor by any of our police departments or by the state police (DPS), but instead, their arrests were made by ADOT.
Yes, that stands for Arizona Department of Transportation; the state department that operates Arizona’s roads, installs traffic lights, runs the ports of entry inspection stations and does other transportation-related things. This led to the question: Can ADOT pull people over and arrest them now? Moreover, these arrests were for marijuana possession and possession of paraphernalia, not a purely transportation-related offense (like speeding).
The ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division is only a few years old, which is why many people may not be aware that it exists. I didn’t, until I saw their shiny new vehicles like the one pictured above. In addition to law enforcement at the Arizona Ports of Entry (like the one in Parker, AZ), they now employ P.O.S.T-certified officers that have full powers of arrest and do not need the help of another agency to do so. Like the officers from other agencies, if they see somebody breaking the law, they can pull them over and cite or arrest them.
The Sheriff’s Department’s Curt Bagby confirms: “ADOT just recently went to hiring certified officers. They are now up to almost 200 officers across the state and they have powers of arrest. Their main objective will still be at the port of entry and commercial vehicles but they can make an arrest on anything.”
So, it’s still unlikely that you will be pulled over by ADOT – at least more unlikely than being pulled over by another agency – but not impossible.
(If you’d like a job with ADOT, they’ll be hiring soon at the inspection station in Parker after their remodeling is finished.)