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Phoenix Police Union Asks Council To Recognize 'Selfless Dedication'

Phoenix Police Headquarters
Kathy Ritchie/KJZZ

During Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Phoenix residents will get the chance to comment on contract proposals from the city’s labor groups, including the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA).

At last week’s council meeting, PLEA’s chief negotiator Darrell Kriplean laid out the case for more than 2,600 members. From January through November, he said officers worked nearly 365,000 hours of overtime. 

“These professionals kept the city safe and provided a safe place for protesters to peacefully exercise their first amendment rights,” he said. “In addition, they professionally mitigated and addressed the protesters who were set on conflict and destruction. The protests in Phoenix did not play out on the national stage much like Seattle or Portland.”

The Police Department says protests against police brutality and the presidential election  have cost Phoenix taxpayers more than $14 million this year. Between late May and mid-November, Phoenix reported 285 protests. 

"It is time for city officials to recognize the selfless dedication our police officers and detectives exhibit daily and as the valued employees that they are," Kriplean said.

On Tuesday, the FBI released national crime statistics based on local department reports. In 2020, Phoenix says rates have dropped for burglary (down 23%), thefts (down nearly 11%) and rape (down 5.4%). “These numbers mirror what is happening in cities across the country experiencing few property crimes while at the same time experiencing increases in the murder rate,” the department wrote in a press release.

Between January and November the department reported 187 homicides, a 52% jump compared to 2019 and a 50% increase from 2018. Domestic violence related murders are up 175% over 2019 and represent 44 people killed.

Kriplean told the council that, “police officers handled more than 606,000 calls for service, of which 98,050 were classified as violent in nature, which is up 4.37% from this time last year.”

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) that PLEA submitted on Dec. 2, includes the following:

Fiscal Year 2021-22

  • 2.5% increase on total compensation
  • One-time payment equal to 1.0% total compensation
  • One-time payment of 2.16% of base wage the first week of December

Fiscal Year 2022-23

  • 2.5% increase on total compensation
  • One-time payment equal to 1.0% total compensation
  • One-time payment of 2.11% of base wage the first week of December

Other employee unions are also asking for wage and benefit increases.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.