PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department is reassigning several sworn officers from specialty positions to help fill a significant gap in its patrol division.
Phoenix is currently short about 400 officers from reaching the staffing levels the city wishes to have, as the agency continues to try recruiting new officers.
To address its deficiency, the agency announced Thursday that 108 officers would be added to Phoenix's seven patrol precincts. Officers previously assigned to the city's community programs, training bureau, and drug enforcement bureau would be reassigned to satisfy Phoenix's need for patrol officers.
Up to 13 detectives from the violent and property crime bureaus will be reassigned, according to city records. A couple of Phoenix's arson detectives would also be moved to a new assignment.
The agency insists that police services will be maintained after its officers are reassigned over the next couple of months.
The reallocation would raise Phoenix's patrol division from 1,096 officers to 1,204, which the city said is needed to respond to a greater demand for services.
"Currently, our response time for emergency calls is longer than we would like and longer than our community expects," the city wrote in a statement. "At the same time, this past year, saw an increase of nearly 10% in priority one, or emergency calls."
Phoenix's school resource officers will not be reassigned and officers should still be available to host community events.
The city said it's actively looking for new ways to reduce the workload of officers by creating positions that can be filled by non-sworn civilians.
"The police department is looking at ways to civilianize certain work areas which do not require the expertise or authority of sworn officers," the agency wrote. "The city council has also approved the creation of a new civilian investigator position which can support the detective functions."
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