ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix PD continues to face shortage of officers amid calls for defunding

Jun 11, 2020, 4:45 AM | Updated: 1:18 pm
(KTAR News 92.3 FM Photo/Gabriel Gamiño)...
(KTAR News 92.3 FM Photo/Gabriel Gamiño)
(KTAR News 92.3 FM Photo/Gabriel Gamiño)

PHOENIX — Protesters in Phoenix and across the country can be heard calling for the defunding of police departments as they take to the streets in response to the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Despite Phoenix’s size and rate of population growth, its police department continues to face a shortage of officers on the streets.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association represents police officers in Phoenix and the group wants to be part of the conversation regarding defunding police and what it could mean for the city of Phoenix.

“People are making a big deal about the amount we are funded, it takes that – we’re the fifth largest city in the United States,” President of PLEA Britt London told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mike Broomhead on Tuesday.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, the shortage is only getting worse, according to London.

PLEA estimates nearly 800 officers within the Phoenix Police Department are eligible for retirement.

“Why would anyone want to stay?” London added. “I think that’s kind of what this whole national narrative we’re seeing is – they want the police forces to disappear, they want officers to feel that way, and I hate to say it, but it looks like it may be working.”

According to the city of Phoenix, as of last month, 3,042 police officer positions were filled — including recruits.

With the recent approval of the city’s budget, there’s now a clearer image of how the city hopes to address the shortage of police.

The Phoenix Police Department plans to hire 300 officers in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 to account for attrition and to reach a sustainable hiring target of 3,125 officers.

But with nationwide protests over police brutality and the city of Phoenix adding about 70 officers to its force over each of the past three years, recruitment isn’t looking good.

With less officers patrolling and resources spread thin, PLEA describes the morale within the department as low. The group says officers feel unsupported from the city and that their collective voice is going unheard.

PLEA adds that officers have continued to work long days and long hours ensuring safety during protests in Phoenix where their own defunding is being called for.

On Monday, the Phoenix City Council passed its annual budget, which included $3 million in funding for a police oversight board that will be included within the City Manager’s Office budget — not the Phoenix Police budget.

They money is expected to come from the city’s general fund.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio poses for a portrait at his private office in Fountain Hi...
Associated Press

Maricopa County to pay $5M to owner whose restaurant was raided by Arpaio

Maricopa County officials approved a $5 million settlement Wednesday with a restaurant owner who claimed in a lawsuit that then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office had defamed him and violated his rights during a 2014 investigation.
8 hours ago
(Grand Canyon University photo)...
Griselda Zetino

Grand Canyon University offers new program for students with disabilities

Grand Canyon University is offering a new program meant to help students with disabilities develop social and job skills.
8 hours ago
(Facebook photo/Tucson Police Department)...
Torrence Dunham

Police group leader says Tucson vaccine mandate will increase staffing issues

Just over 50 Tucson police officers face getting a COVID-19 vaccine or a pink slip in December after the council voted Tuesday to fire unvaccinated city employees, a move a law enforcement association says would devastate services police provide.
8 hours ago
ADOT photo...
KTAR.com

US 60 to close between Superior, Miami Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The route will be closed as crews further remove the old Pinto Creek Bridge, requiring motorists to take alternate routes.
8 hours ago
(Adolfson & Peterson Construction photo)...
KTAR.com

Construction completed on new field house for Williams Field High School in Gilbert

Construction has wrapped up on a new field house for Williams Field High School sports teams, giving coaches and student-athletes at the Gilbert school updated amenities.
8 hours ago
(Gilbert Days Music Festival Photo)...
KTAR.com

New 2-day Gilbert Days Music Festival coming to East Valley park

The Gilbert Days Music Festival is set to debut at Gilbert Regional Park on Nov. 19-20.
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
Phoenix PD continues to face shortage of officers amid calls for defunding