Two years after thousands of residents descended on Phoenix streets to protest police brutality and call on the city to divert money from police, some of the same activists were outside City Hall on Tuesday to condemn pay raises for officers.
They called for better uses of the $19.8 million in police pay hikes that the City Council ended up approving in a 8-1 vote on Wednesday, a move intended to improve the recruitment and retention of officers.
The number of vacancies in the Police Department is far beyond other city departments — and losses continue, according to City Manager Jeff Barton.
Councilman Carlos Garcia was the lone vote against the pay bumps, which will now make Phoenix police officers the highest paid in the Valley.
“We’re embarrassed weekly on the nightly news, we pay out millions in lawsuits,” he said about the Police Department. “We continue to prioritize and fund this department and then expect them to do things that they’re simply not trained for, and the results have unfortunately been loss of life.”