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Phoenix City Council approves plan to spend up to $750,000 on guns

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PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council voted unanimously to spend up to $750,000 on Glock guns and replacement parts for its police department during a sometimes raucous meeting Wednesday.

The vote came after a parade of public commenters, most of whom spoke against the plan.

“This is to outfit our new employees with equipment that they need to do the job that they do as well as to repair any of the other weapons systems that we have,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said during discussions before the vote.

According to the agenda, the plan also included the opportunity to trade in used firearms for $225 each, which could potentially save the city up to $139,500.

During the public comment session, former state Senate candidate Brianna Westbrook pointed to the high number of shootings by police officers in Phoenix this year.

“We need to do better, and it doesn’t start by arming more police officers with more firearms,” Westbrook said.

Several commenters voiced their displeasure with Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who left the chambers while some were speaking. He returned to address the attacks on him and what he saw as attacks on the police force.

“I am very direct to you about it,” he said. “I support our police officers. I think that we need to protect them.”

Several commenters brought up the need for better training.

“We want a freeze on police spending. Use that money instead of buying weapons to buy a reprogramming session for every single police officer on your force,” a woman said.

“They don’t need another dime right now until they readjust the way they do community policing,” said a man who identified himself as a homeowner in Phoenix’s Willo neighborhood.

After one woman spoke in favor of the funding, Mayor Thelda Williams ended the public comment period.

She said the 12 people who turned in cards to speak and hadn’t, all of whom were opposed to the plan, would be entered into the public record.

After the vote was taken, a group of protesters started chanting “let us speak,” leading Williams to call a recess.

Following the recess, more chants broke out before protesters cleared the room and the meeting continued.

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