Last month, Detective John Kozeliski was recognized as an Outstanding Instructor by the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) for his support of the HIDTA training program, exceptional training skills, and willingness to share his knowledge and expertise with law enforcement officers, analysts, prosecutors, military personnel, and civilians across the state of Arizona.
Meet Detective John Kozeliski
Detective Kozeliski graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s in criminal justice. His law enforcement career in narcotic investigations started shortly after when he joined the Phoenix Police Department over 34 years ago. Since then, he’s participated in several HIDTA task forces, worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Homeland Security Investigations. Additionally, while being employed with Phoenix PD, Detective Kozeliski completed a master’s program in education, focusing on counseling.
In April 2018, after retiring from Phoenix PD, Detective Kozeliski was offered a position with MCAO. “I have always had a great working relationship with the MCAO drug unit, so it was a great fit.” He is currently assigned to the DEA as a task force officer in the West Valley Drug Enforcement Task Force, where he shares an office with Glendale Narcotic Detectives and DEA agents. Detective Kozeliski writes surveillance affidavits for narcotic search warrants, GPS trackers, and cell phones as part of his daily activities. The mission of the DEA is to dismantle drug organizations by seizing drugs and their respective proceeds in Arizona, preventing profits from reaching drug cartels.
When he’s not working on investigations, Detective Kozeliski is readily available to support law enforcement officers and analysts in their investigations and share his expertise during training. Since 2014, Detective Kozeliski has been a regular instructor for several HIDTA courses, including Basic Intelligence Analyst, Basic Drug Investigations, Undercover Investigations, Drug Supervisor, and Informant Management. He is also a frequent instructor for the Arizona Narcotic Officers Association.
While challenging, Detective Kozeliski finds his work rewarding. “One of the reasons I love my job and have been doing it for 34 years is to help communities get rid of drug dealers that sell drugs to children and create a toxic environment in our neighborhoods.” In addition to his work with MCAO and training with HIDTA, Detective Kozeliski also teaches an introductory drug recognition class to the public, helping create awareness of the types of drugs currently on the streets and warning signs of substance abuse. “It is very satisfying for me to work with the citizens of Maricopa County to get their neighborhoods back, so they feel safe again.”
His training extends to schools as well, where he has reached over 700 students from across the country on law enforcement topics such as informants, courtroom testimony, and undercover operations. Detective Kozeliski finds that working with youth is essential, especially when talking about substance abuse and counterfeit pills. “One of the biggest problems I see right now is the selling of fentanyl pills on the streets of Phoenix, where the average price of just one pill is $1.35. It’s affecting so many young people. Last year we lost 93,000 people to drug overdoses in the United States and, since 2017 in Arizona, I believe there have been over 9,000 people that have overdosed on fentanyl.”
While teaching and creating awareness is essential, Detective Kozeliski encourages people to consider a career in law enforcement. “We need more good people to take up the fight now more than ever. It’s a hard job but can be very rewarding.” To those already considering a career in law enforcement, Detective Kozeliski shares that “being a narcotics detective is one of the best jobs in law enforcement.” He’s proud to share that his son has already followed in his footsteps, working as a Mesa Police Officer who was recently assigned to a street crimes squad, the same way he had when he started his career. Overall, he is "very grateful to the MCAO for extending my career a few more years.”
MCAO is proud to have Detective Kozeliski on our team and appreciates his commitment to justice and crime prevention in Maricopa County.
About Arizona HIDTA
Established in 1990, HIDTA’s mission is to reduce the impact of illegal trafficking and the use of drugs throughout Arizona by facilitating, supporting, and enhancing the collaboration between drug control efforts among law enforcement agencies. HIDTA coordinates and supports the efforts of 631 full-time and 185 part-time participants from 73 federal, state, local, and tribal agencies.