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Officials Weigh In On Phoenix Police Officers' Reassignment

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams is moving 169 officers to patrol duty in an effort to make up for a shortage in that area, as the head of one police union has called the situation a staffing “crisis.”

For more on what the move means and what kind of impact it may have on officers and the public, Sean Mattson, president of the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association, discusses what to make of Williams’ decision to reassign a number of officers to patrol.

City Manager Ed Zuercher says the agency is working on it.

"The department is in full hiring mode and we are up — we’re at 2,866 officers, which is over 125 officers more than we had about 18 months ago. So that’s good news. We’re on a path to get to 3,100-plus officers, but it’s gonna take us a while to get there within our resources," Zuercher says.

Zuercher says making sure the city’s patrol beats are fully staffed is an important goal and the essence of Chief Williams’ move. But he understands the concerns about moving offers around.

"Certainly when people are not doing what they used to do before, that’s going to be missed. But I think the main point is that the fundamental mission of the police department is the patrol function and responding to the community’s calls for service and being out there and visible in the community," Zuercher says.

Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.