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Gilbert Town Council scheduled to consider police request for money to cover budget deficit

The Gilbert Police Department says it needs an extra $2.3 million to make it through the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The Town Council is scheduled to consider spending more than budgeted for public safety when it meets Tuesday night.

More than 80% of the total request from the Gilbert police chief would pay for overtime. A memo to the Town Council cites reasons for the deficit as officer-pay raises, a critical shortage of staff and investigating major cases of teen violence.

“These cases have been going on for years. Before where did the money go for the investigation? Or was there no investigation?” said Brian Burton, Gilbert resident.

Burton views the request for more money as evidence that Gilbert police should immediately undergo an independent audit. He supports a petition approaching 500 signatures that calls for transparency and accountability in the department.

Roughly $44,000 of the extra money Gilbert police say they need is to pay for a mistake by staff from when the department switched cellular service providers.

“Who is held accountable for that? How do we make sure that doesn’t happen again? How do we know there is not more of that?” said Burton.

A memo to the Town Council says the extra costs are due to Gilbert police having left a number of old data lines open for a few months after making the switch.

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.