The Phoenix Police Department has been mobilized for the past 13 days in response to the civil unrest which resulted from George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Our officers are out there every day trying to keep the peace for the community members expressing their First Amendment Right to protest and prevent criminals from damaging property, yet there seems to be little or no support from City Hall.
These men and women have been working long hours, getting minimal sleep, and many of them haven’t had a day off in what will be two weeks this Friday. However, they will be back out there selflessly serving the community as long as it is necessary.
The irony in all this is that now that the focus of protests has switched to “defund the police” the City has spent millions of dollars in overtime and other associated costs to ensure that we have adequate staffing to handle the crowds and make sure that the calls for service, which continue to come in through 911 and crime stop can be answered. Theoretically, those funds could have been better spent on some of the very concepts brought up, including community outreach and youth programs.
While Phoenix is currently the 5th largest and fastest growing city in the country, our police department is not adequately staffed to provide adequate police service to a population of 1.7 million people scattered across a nearly 530 square mile geographical footprint. Under our current staffing, which is still more than 200 sworn officers less than the City Manager’s 2018 hiring goal of 3,125, the community suffers twice; first, when response times are delayed when calling the police and second, when detectives who conduct follow-up investigation are buried with unmanageable caseloads.
Despite the very difficult job that our Phoenix Police Officers continue to do, we have little support from the Mayor and a majority of the City Council.
PLEA President Britt London was interviewed by KTAR Radio’s Mike Broomhead earlier today on this issue.