Phoenix Police hiring 15 new Student Resource Officers - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Phoenix Police hiring 15 new Student Resource Officers

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The Phoenix Police Department announced Wednesday they were hiring 15 new Student Resource Officers (SROs). The news comes as the department has had to deal with cuts and reduction in staff over the past five years.

"There has been a decrease. As you understand the economy has gone down, the revenues from the city have not been where they were anticipated, so we have seen a reduction in officers," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

Since 2009, the department has dealt with nearly 500 fewer officers. The 15 new positions are funded through a federal grant. The SRO officers will likely come from internal candidates. Those spots will then be filled with outside applicants that have at least one year of police experience.

"We're able to hire essentially 15 SROs, but when I say that, we're going to be able to fill 15 positions from our existing resources and hire from outside to backfill those 15 positions," said Thompson.

The news of new hires is welcome by many, but neighborhood activist Ann Malone says it's simply not enough.

"My concern is that we're getting excited about 15 officers. Crime statistics are starting to go back up," she said.

"While we're down 500 officers from our peak, we haven't lost one square inch of territory," Malone continued.

Malone said the announcement is a great way to open discussion throughout Phoenix about getting more funding for the department.

"We have the finest men and women in the Phoenix Police Department that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They are working ridiculous hours for less and less every single year. (We need to decide) as a community. What are our priorities? What are we willing to cut?" she asked.

In a statement, Joe Clure, the President of  Phoenix Law Enforcement Association said:

"Of course it's great that the department has announced new hirings, but 15 new positions doesn't address the underlying staffing crisis facing the phoenix police department."

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