Phoenix councilwoman wants drones for safety of police officers

Feb 15, 2022, 6:16 AM | Updated: 10:11 am

(City of Glendale Photo)...

(City of Glendale Photo)

(City of Glendale Photo)

PHOENIX – Phoenix City Councilwoman Ann O’Brien has asked the city manager to supply the police department with drones as soon as possible after nine officers were wounded in a fatal standoff with a gunman at a house.

“It’s time for Phoenix to have its own drones,” O’Brien told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

The Phoenix Police Department borrowed a drone from the Glendale Police Department during the Friday morning confrontation near 51st Avenue and Broadway Road. Five police officers were shot and four others were injured by shrapnel.

O’Brien said she has the support of Mayor Kate Gallego and councilmembers Debra Stark and Jim Waring and hopes the council will greenlight the purchase of drones for the police at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We’re the fifth-largest city in the country. The city of Phoenix has been working on this since 2015 and we haven’t made the headway to get Phoenix police the technology they need to keep them and the public safe,” O’Brien said.

In a letter to City Manager Jeff Barton, O’Brien pointed out the department was in the third phase of a drone program but weren’t in line to get any for a year.

The suspect, Morris Jones, 36, shot himself and died in the house. He had already shot and killed a woman inside the house, Shatifah Lobley, 29, before police arrived.

“The incident we experienced last Friday is where the suspect has the tactical advantage of knowing the layout of the house, how many people are inside and the weapons that are there,” O’Brien said.

“We need to give our police officers the ability to go in and see what’s going on without putting themselves in harm’s way.”

In addition to being used in those situations O’Brien said drones could substantially reduce the amount of time and resources it takes to investigate traffic fatalities, ensuring more officers would be available to answer calls.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Debra Dale contributed to this report.

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Phoenix councilwoman wants drones for safety of police officers