PHOENIX (KSAZ) — The Phoenix City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to approve an ordinance to fund new weapons for the Phoenix Police Department, and protestors are vividly upset with the vote.
What the ordinance entails is to fund Phoenix Police efforts to repair broken weapons, in order to ensure officers are equipped with functioning equipment to do their job.
“This is to outfit new employees with equipment to do they job they do,” said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.
“It has to do with repairing broken weapons, and making sure police officers have functional weapons, and the least expensive ways to do that,” said Council member Sal DiCiccio.
Protests erupted at the city council meeting, after that unanimous vote. Those who approached the Mayor and Council were concerned with the alarming number of officer involved shootings in Phoenix. So far in 2018, 41 people have been shot by police, and 19 of them died.
“You don’t give weapons to people who don’t know how to use them without any kind of discretion,” said Chimene Hawes. “You don’t give Glocks to new employees who have not been trained on any de-escalation techniques.”
“If you are disobeying the law, running from police and getting arrested, that is not the City’s problem,” said Jennifer Harrison. “You cannot come in here and demand that we withhold funds, so that they can have working equipment to take care and protect law abiding citizens.”
A few people who approached the Council did bring up the idea of having body cameras on officers, which is a tool the Phoenix Police officers do not commonly have. Currently, Phoenix Police has a pilot program on body cameras.