In 1962, even among hostile and dangerous foes, it only took Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union, 13 days to respond to President John F. Kennedy’s concern over missiles in Cuba. Lives and security were at risk. Fast forward to 2017. It has now been 15 days since PLEA hand-carried letters to the offices of the Mayor and City Council asking for a firm commitment to fund and properly staff the Phoenix Police Department. Lives and security are at risk. Khrushchev was smart enough to respond to Kennedy’s alarm. Surely rank-and-file PLEA members have earned a courteous answer from the City Council. PLEA’s letters were the culmination of a series of meetings with the City Manager, Mayor, and City Council after PLEA held a December 5, 2016 press conference on behalf of front-line members. The community partners we serve needed to be alerted to the danger of real and on-going low staffing levels in the Phoenix Police Department. Ignoring a problem rarely makes it go away.
The letter specifically asked for a reply by March 30, 2017 because the 31st was a City holiday. It is now April 5, 2017 and the lack of response and silence from the Mayor and City Council is both deafening and disappointing.
The City Council is tasked with serving and providing an efficient and effective public safety service for neighborhoods, families and businesses. One could be left with several reasonable impressions from the silence of elected City officials.
- Perhaps no one on the Council has the intestinal fortitude to make a hard decision that involves spending additional money on public safety.
- Maybe the Council is wavering in staffing the Phoenix Police Department at a level needed to have a safe city with a population of over 1.6 million people and a combined footprint of 530 square miles.
- It’s possible many on the Council feel they don’t have to answer to taxpayers for their failure to hire police officers for six years – not even to cover attrition.
- Perhaps some on the Council perceive they are not responsible for the unsafe and unreasonably long police response times when taxpayers call for help in their moment of need.
- It could be that the Council believes it’s irrelevant when the Phoenix Police Department is forced to abandon victims due to understaffed detectives missing court timelines and carrying unmanageable caseloads.
- Or maybe Council members were so caught up with the illusion of a bright and shiny Final Four they forgot communities in Phoenix were still left in the dark because Peter was robbed to pay Paul – schedules and responsibilities of hundreds of police officers and detectives were manipulated to fill a short-term gap.
We wish we had the answers, but unfortunately, those responsible have yet to provide the slightest of considerations in regard to the needs of our cops and communities.