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Phoenix police proposal would cut patrol squads, precincts

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department has submitted a draft for city council consideration that would ultimately shrink the number of police precincts in the city and the number of patrol squads.

“What we are doing is shuffling resources in patrol,” said Sgt. Sean Mattson, president of a police union. “Patrol continues to be the biggest details that gets depleted the most and these are the folks that respond to 911. All we are doing is delaying the crash.”

A city council member provided KTAR with a few key points about what is being considered to restructure the department.

“Due to budgetary issues and increasing attrition levels our current eight precinct configuration is difficult to maintain. With the reduction of over 500 sworn employees our current squad sizes are reducing below adequate levels. In addition, in FY 2014 -2015, the department will lose an additional 66 sworn employees through known DROP retirements.”

Changes would include:

• The geographic squad areas will increase along with average squad size, and the number of patrol squads will be reduced from 132 to 114.

• All precincts will be full precincts and the half-precinct model will be eliminated. The eight-precinct configuration, which was adopted in 2010, will shrink to six precincts.

Police officers have said that the quality of service, the number of proactive crime-fighting details and the morale within the department is outrageous.

The most violent areas of the city do not have an adequate number of police personnel on the street and if a victim calls 911 and the call is not considered a priority, the resident often will have wait up to 12 hours or longer.

“I was in a meeting with a lieutenant and he had to break away from the meeting to address the fact that an assault victim had been waiting (at St. Joseph’s Hospital) for police for more than seven hours,” said Mattson.

“Last Monday, only two officers, who are responsible for patrolling half of the Maryvale precinct, showed up for briefing, we’ve been warning (city leaders) that this day was coming.”