ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix Police shuffles staff to cover patrol shortages

Feb 24, 2022, 11:34 AM | Updated: 12:11 pm

PHOENIX — Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams announced Thursday the department will reassign more than 100 officers to patrol positions due to ongoing staffing shortages.

Personnel from specialty details will move to the patrol roles, a move Williams hopes will cut down on emergency response time.

A total of 108 officers are needed for the operation to bring patrol totals to about 1,200, according to a document detailing specifics of the planned changes.

“The situation has gotten to a point where reallocation of resources is necessary,” Williams said in a video.

Officers and detectives from specialty details started handling patrol duties in July, but Williams said the move was needed to permanently supplement staffing in that area.

The Cactus Park Precinct, which covers approximately 30 square miles in north Phoenix and serves about 188,000 residents, will gain the most staffing.

Fourty-one officers will be reassigned there, bringing the patrol total to 200.

Only the Maryvale/Estrella Precinct, which will add 17 officers to its 230-person patrol team, has a higher total of dedicated personnel.

“Ultimately what we are responsible for is when one of our citizens picks up the phone and they call 911, they have an expectation that a uniformed Phoenix police officer is going to respond,” Mike Kurtenbach, assistant police chief, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday.

“That’s why we very thoughtfully and very carefully looked at every position within the organization, identified those that although important where they currently sit could be better served in a patrol function.”

Williams vowed that specialty programs will be able to maintained as detectives and officers are shifted to new roles.

The community programs bureau will be the most affected, losing 24 of its 44 officers to the reallocation.

The neighborhood enforcement bureau’s 86-person team will also be cut to 67.

Teams in both bureaus will be reduced to one per precinct from two as a result of the changes.

“This plan was not entered into lightly,” Williams said. “We know it has an impact on the lives of our offices and their families and you, our community.”

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Phoenix Police shuffles staff to cover patrol shortages