Mesa Mayor John Giles is against defunding city’s police department
PHOENIX — The mayor of Mesa doesn’t believe less money should be spent on the city’s police department.
“When you talk about defunding the police, that really can’t happen in a city like Mesa that is fast growing,” Mesa Mayor John Giles told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
Giles said the city is having to hire new police officers and add new police stations “to catch up with the growth.” He doesn’t believe the priority should be on spending less money on police.
“The priority is on making sure that we’re funding other things in our community that are equally important,” he said, adding that social services are one of those things.
“And we have been doing that traditionally in Mesa,” he said. “But absolutely we need to focus on talking to the community, finding out what their concerns are and making sure that we’re addressing them.”
Giles and Mesa Police Chief Ken Cost have been spending time recently meeting and having conversations with members of the African American community and others.
They both participated in a Communities of Color Forum earlier this month along with five leaders of the African American community in Mesa. They discussed a variety of topics, including use-of-force training for police officers and police oversight.
Giles said these conversations are an example of what the city is doing to continue to improve the relationship between the community and the Mesa Police Department.