After talking to residents across Phoenix and Glendale, the one thing I hear most is they want safe neighborhoods and safe communities.
That could all change in a moment depending upon decisions made at the local level. For what was once considered a fringe movement has put such safety in jeopardy.
The effects of the Defund the Police movement have become the sad reality of many Americans in major cities across the country who have watched their homes burn and their family-owned businesses destroyed.
Many residents are even terrified to go outside their homes after dark. This isn’t Baghdad or Damascus but major cities in the United States.
Which is why an overwhelming majority of residents support their local police because they know a reduced police presence will harm those most at risk.
For example, a recent Gallup poll noted 61% of Black Americans want the same police presence in their neighborhoods and 20% of Black Americans want more of a police presence in their neighborhoods. So, who exactly wants to see less of a police presence? Those who want to watch our neighborhoods burn just like Minneapolis, Portland, and Seattle.
Should any of our city councils defund the police, they will damage the very neighborhoods that need a police presence the most. Known as the “Minneapolis effect,” crime will increase exponentially, with criminals getting a free pass to wreak havoc with impunity, and more locally owned businesses will burn, all of which would take decades to rebuild.
The equation is quite simple – more police officers equals less crime and disorder; less police officers equals more crime and chaos. Consider two cities similar in size, Phoenix and Philadelphia. While the Philadelphia police department has 6,400 sworn police officers who patrol a population of 1.56 million people in a 142 square mile area, Phoenix has 2,900 sworn police officers with a 1.58 million population who patrol 516 square miles. This means the Phoenix police department has to cover twice the distance with less than half the police force.
So while the public expects officers to respond to serious felonies from individuals with multiple outstanding warrants in the most stressful of conditions with little to no backup and quite often with only a few hours of sleep. Further, the public judges an officer on a split-second life and death response under such stressful situations. The least we can do is give them more support in hiring additional sworn officers, more training, and vocal support. Of course, no one, not even the officers I speak to on a regular basis would ever say a cop who has broken the law should get a free pass. In those cases, they should be held accountable.
“No officer wants to pull the trigger.” That’s what one officer told me when I asked him if there was one thing he thinks the public should know about law enforcement. The best way to achieve that goal is giving officers the support where they need it most.
Republican state senator Paul Boyer, and 12th grade literature and junior high Latin teacher, represents Legislative District 20 in Phoenix and Glendale.