How Do Phoenix Police Staffing Levels Stack Up?

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Monday, September 25, 2017 - 8:11am
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Phoenix police officers on bicycles near city hall.

Getting more cops on the streets has been a priority in Phoenix since the Great Recession forced a hiring freeze. The city’s goal is to have 3,125 sworn officers by next year, but the officers’ union argues that’s not enough.

MORE: What’s The Full Cost Of Hiring More Phoenix Police Officers?

The city’s goal will leave the force with 250 fewer sworn officers than a decade ago and that’s a problem for the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. The union wants Phoenix to reach what’s generally considered the national average rate of 2.5 officers per thousand residents.

But, a new city report says the rate is lower in the Western States, Mountain Region — that’s where the FBI lists Arizona. The average staffing ratio is 1.8 officers per thousand in the region and 1.9 among agencies in Arizona. By next year, Phoenix expects to have around 2 sworn officers per thousand residents.

As of July 2017, the city reported 2,810 filled sworn positions which equated to 1.76 officers per thousand residents. In 2009, Phoenix reported the highest staffing ratio in recent history. It was 2.27 officers per thousand residents.

The report also compared staffing levels and crime rates between 1997 and 2016. While there were times that crime decreased when staffing increased, it was not consistent.

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