Mayor Gallego says she won’t defund Phoenix Police in State of the City address
Apr 8, 2022, 4:12 PM
(City of Phoenix Screenshot)
PHOENIX — Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego firmly stated Friday in her annual State of the City address she would not defund the city’s police department, which has been under the microscope in recent months and remains under federal investigation.
“So today, I say publicly and without reservation: I have never and will never defund the Phoenix Police Department,” Gallego, a Democrat, said during her speech at the Phoenix Convention Center.
A tumultuous year for Phoenix Police since Gallego’s last address was highlighted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into the department’s use-of-force practices.
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division opened the review, which is ongoing, in August over potential civil rights violations and abuses of power.
Gallego acknowledged that the department has had its struggles.
“Is our department perfect? No. No police agency in the country is without its flaws,” Gallego said. “We know our community has high expectations that we have not always met.”
Policing numbers have also dropped recently, causing Chief Jeri Williams to shuffle staff to cover patrol shortages.
The department in February reassigned more than 100 officers to patrol positions with the hope of cutting down on emergency response time.
Phoenix Police gets about 2,500 calls for service per day, according to Gallego.
“Part of Phoenix’s promise to businesses and to the families who live here and relocate here is safety,” Gallego said. “The demands on our public safety agencies are intense.”
Gallego also called for an end to violence against officers.
Nine officers were either shot or injured in a shooting in February.
Tyler Moldovan, a 22-year-old officer, was shot several times and spent weeks in the ICU after being attacked during a call in December.
“I’ve had it with violent attacks on our police officers,” Gallego said. “We must keep them safe.”
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