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Phoenix police to move staff from specialty details to patrol

The volume of emergency calls has increased, response times don’t meet expectations and a chronic staffing shortage now has Phoenix police down more than 400 officers.

The department said on Thursday that it will shuffle duty assignments to have enough people patrol the city.

The plan is to move roughly 100 officers and detectives from specialty details to patrol.

Figures provided by Phoenix police project the most transfers from bureaus such as community engagement, neighborhood enforcement and property crimes. Smaller unit reductions are forecast in areas like violent crime and tactical support.

“This plan was not entered into lightly. We know it has an impact on the lives of our officers and their families. And you, our community,” said Chief Jeri Williams in a department-produced video.

The Cactus Park Precinct, for example, needs dozens more officers to help answer emergency calls, city data show. The area spans west of Interstate 17 from Indian School Road to north of Happy Valley Road.

“When you pick up the phone and call for help, I want to make sure one of my officers is there,” said Williams.

In a prepared statement, Michael “Britt” London, president of the union called the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, said the re-assignments will affect crime investigations and make it harder for members to do their jobs.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.