PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department is hoping to get more recruits in 2022 after missing the mark last year.
According to city documents, the department was planning to hire 150 new officers but ended up getting 66 new recruits and 4 officers from outside agencies.
Experts attribute the shortage to the anti-police movement, more job options and the pandemic.
"All three of these factors have made it very difficult for police administrators to hire both the number and type of individuals they need to do the work," said Michael Scott, the director at the ASU Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.
According to Scott, cities should rethink which calls they send officers to.
"For example, dealing with a homeless individual, certainly if that individual is engaged in life-threatening behavior, we need the police to show up, but we may not need police to do the follow up," he said.
"If the person is not committing a crime and is need of assistance, that could be turned over to some other agency," Scott added.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams mentioned the potential changes during a subcommittee meeting in December.
However, it's unclear if and when those changes could take effect.
In the meantime, the department is offering $7,500 bonuses to new hires. They're also offering $7,500 for current officers to stay on with the force through December 2023.
During the shortage, the department is using seasoned investigators and officers to help on patrols.
"Not only does this provide additional uniformed officers to work on the street, but it also provides an opportunity for experienced investigators to interact with younger patrol officers and mentor them," said a spokesperson with the Phoenix Police Deparment.