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How will understaffed Phoenix police support Super Bowl events?

Phoenix taxpayers will contribute millions of dollars to support Super Bowl events.

The city is preparing for more than 200,000 visitors at various downtown events through Sunday. Police Commander Brian Lee said providing adequate security means pulling department employees from other duties.  

“A good portion of our investigations bureau was-were detectives were reallocated away from what their normal assignment was to be able to help staff some of these critical positions,” he told a City Council subcommittee.

Bicycle teams, reserve officers and non-sworn personnel have also been tapped. Despite patrol squads being understaffed for years, Lee says residents will see no impact when it comes to officers responding to emergencies.  

“The response that you get and the number of officers we have in the patrol precincts today will be the same as it is once Super Bowl events go into operation,” he said.

Councilwoman Ann O’Brien called the planning and staffing a monumental effort, “Really do appreciate all those who will be working overtime and in duties that they don’t normally work.”  

In 2015, the last time Arizona hosted the Super Bowl, the city said it spent $3.02 million on public safety and $346,000 in direct new expenses for other departments. Costs include overtime, equipment and supplies and contractual services like street barricading. The city is tracking the same information for a post-Super Bowl report this year.

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