ARIZONA NEWS

What is the city of Phoenix doing to address the public safety shortage?

May 15, 2019, 4:55 AM | Updated: May 18, 2019, 12:05 pm

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Police Department has over 300 fewer officers compared to 10 years ago, while the city’s population continues to grow at one of the fastest rates in the country.

Newly elected Mayor Kate Gallego has stepped into office working to solve the public safety shortage in hopes of making her city safer.

Gallego told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday, “Right now we are in budget season and we have a city budget that will include hiring 300 new police officers.”

Taking steps to create a safer city, Gallego has committed to working alongside Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams and the Phoenix City Council to improve public safety.

Fiscal Year Filled Police Police Adopted Budget
2007-08 3,339 $521,174,000
2008-09 3,275 $574,215,000
2009-10 3,163 $581,879,000
2010-11 3,072 $539,575,000
2011-12 3,032 $548,323,000
2012-13 3,001 $576,656,000
2013-14 2,927 $585,913,000
2014-15 2,836 $570,434,000
2015-16 2,749 $572,949,000
2016-17 2,824 $613,942,000
2017-18 2,912 $677,593,000
2018-19 YTD 3,024 $687,794,000

“Anything we can do to be a better partner for our officers and be a force multiplier. Whether it’s investing in better technology or just getting more officers trained and out on our streets is really important,” Gallego said.

The Phoenix mayor recently approved new technology for Phoenix police to use while locating shots that were fired in hopes of solving crimes faster.

Plus, the Phoenix City Council is set to vote Wednesday on new DNA-testing technology.

“We learned about this [technology] through the Hacienda HealthCare situation, where we needed to test DNA from 100 employees to find out who was the father of a baby of a rape victim,” Gallego said.

Gallego said she also wants to make improve conditions for current officers, especially considering a recent Wallethub article that ranked Arizona as one of the worst states in the country to be a police officer.

With Phoenix having one of the largest police departments in the state, Gallego is committed to changing that.

“The city of Phoenix has launched a task force to look into officer retention, so how do we make sure that police officers who have experience and training want to stay on the job?” she said.

“We want our experienced officers to stay interested, to continue to be interested in serving.”

With an attractive new budget, the Phoenix Police Department has been aggressively recruiting and hiring.

Gallego is confident the back-to-back academies they will be hosting this year should better suit the city with needed police officers.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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What is the city of Phoenix doing to address the public safety shortage?