Queen Creek votes to form police department amid COVID-19 pandemic

Mar 19, 2020, 7:00 PM | Updated: Mar 20, 2020, 12:50 pm

(Public Domain image)...

(Public Domain image)

(Public Domain image)

PHOENIX — The Queen Creek Town Council voted on Wednesday to approve the establishment of the town’s own police department.

The vote follows months of public outreach and comprehensive police study that weighed various options regarding the town’s law enforcement situation.

Queen Creek’s law enforcement has been solely provided for by the MCSO. However, in light of Queen Creek’s 6-10% annual growth rate, a Law Enforcement study published last year described the MCSO has having an increasingly “limited capacity” to adequately staff and police the town.

The outbreak of COVID-19 also played a role in the Town Council’s Wednesday vote, according to Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney.

“We are experiencing a big unknown across the world related to COVID-19,” he said.

“As we continue to implement recommendations from the county, state and federal government to help slow the spread, we also have to continue the business of the town, especially related to public safety.”

Beginning in December of last year, the Town Council began meeting to discuss three potential options put forth by the aforementioned study: maintaining a contract with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office; contracting with another law enforcement entity or starting the town’s own police force.

Following these options, Town Council staffers gathered input from the community over a 60 day period which began earlier this year.

Of the 354 feedback forms that the Town Council received from the community, 87.3% favored the establishment of a municipal police force.

The establishment of Queen Creek’s police department will occur over five years and the town projects its implementation and staffing will not require new taxes.

MCSO will continue to provide law enforcement personnel Queen Creek throughout the transition.

Queen Creek expects to begin recruiting a police chief this spring.

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Queen Creek votes to form police department amid COVID-19 pandemic