Phoenix Police face increase in 911 calls and homicides amid staffing shortages

Oct 14, 2021, 4:15 AM
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department said Wednesday it is facing critically low staffing while emergency calls and homicides are on the rise.

Phoenix police last year received 123,184 emergency calls, and the department expects to surpass that number by nearly 10,000 this year.

The department is also witnessing an increase in homicides, with a possibility Phoenix could surpass 200 homicides by the end of the year, according to Executive Assistant Chief Mike Kurtenbach. Phoenix in 2020 had 200 homicides as a city, the most since 2007.

Increases in emergency calls and homicides are coming amidst the department having trouble replacing sworn officers who leave, which is also having an effect on response time.

“This year with the increase in those emergency calls for service and fewer officers we’ve seen now a 22-second increase in our median response time to these calls,” Kurtenbach said.

The Phoenix Police Department in March of 2020 had 124 recruits eager to join the force but only have 39 in 2021, while the number of sworn officers decreased from 2,926 to 2,781.

In an attempt to boost recruiting numbers, the department in August announced it would launch an incentive program that would pay a $7,500 hiring bonus for new officer recruits and lateral sworn officers.

Phoenix police hoped the incentive would attract more people to the department as agencies across the nation compete for qualified candidates.

The department is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The investigation is probing Phoenix police’s use-of-force practices and looking for patterns of retaliation over activity protected under the First Amendment as well as discrimination against people with disabilities or who are homeless.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Queen Creek Photo)...

Ground broken on next phase of Mansel Carter Oasis Park in Queen Creek

Ground has been broken on the next phase of a park in Queen Creek that is expected to be completed by late next year.
21 hours ago
(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Weeknight closures on I-17 north of Phoenix will impede traffic for months

Interstate 17 north of Phoenix will be closed several nights a week well into next year so crews can blast rocks to make space for new lanes.
21 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County)...

Maricopa County certifies 2022 midterm election, leaving Cochise as lone holdout

Maricopa County certified the 2022 midterm election, leaving Cochise County as the lone holdout ahead of Monday's deadline.
21 hours ago
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Ron Wolfley says Arizona Cardinals were hard-luck losers against Chargers

The Arizona Cardinals lost a heartbreaker on Sunday to the Los Angeles Chargers, a defeat Ron Wolfley said was tough luck.
21 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/U.S. Dog Agility Association)...

Dogs will have run of the place in Scottsdale at Agility World Games

There will be no dogging it this week in Scottsdale when nearly 500 of the most athletic canines in the country will compete to be the best at the Cynosport Dog Agility World Games.
21 hours ago
An election worker removes tabulated ballots to be boxed inside the Maricopa County Recorders Offic...
Associated Press

GOP-controlled Cochise County refuses to certify 2022 election

Officials in a rural Arizona county refused Monday to certify the 2022 election ahead of the deadline amid pressure from prominent Republicans to reject a vote count
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Phoenix Police face increase in 911 calls and homicides amid staffing shortages