TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In response to the Tucson Police Department's staffing shortage, the police officer's union is releasing call response times.
On Sunday, the Tucson Police Officer's Association released "alarming statistics" that show Tucsonans waiting up to 23 hours for an officer to respond to a burglary.
The union goes on to explain over the past year there have been 1,012 burglaries with delayed response times. According to TPD data, there were 2,104 reported burglaries in 2020 and so far in 2021, there have been 354.
"724 of those calls waited for more than 4 hours, 146 have waited for more than 8 hours, and 142 for more than 12 hours," said TPOA in the Facebook post.
A spokesperson for Tucson Police Officer's Association tells KGUN 9 the statistics are disappointing and the staff shortages are hitting the department all around.
“It really delays our response to the community, which means we lose evidence scattering, we lose time in the suspect being further away or ahead of us. And then as our standard goes down, we're going to see cuts to our proactive, preventative strategies," said a TPOA spokesperson.
A spokesperson for TPOA said the department has 760 officers ready to hit the streets. As KGUN has reported TPD needs 1,000 to function properly.
However, the union assures the community for extreme emergencies like an in-progress crime— officers will still respond quickly.
But what’s the solution to all this? The union has told KGUN 9 in the past it’s more funding.
A spokesperson says investment into public safety is more than just extra money in officers' pockets.
“Staffing itself affects our morale and then also, it's everything. It's the equipment. It's the overall feeling that we're not investing in public safety the way we should, and that and that drives down morale across the board," said a TPOA spokesperson.
9 on your side has reached out to Mayor Regina Romero and all council members. So far, we've heard back from Councilmember Steve Kozachik who said TPOA is right.
TPOA's right. We have a staffing shortage within the agency. So does virtually every other police department in the nation. It's a terribly difficult job to recruit to, and the fact that our pay scale is below the regional market doesn't help. I'm hopeful this mayor and city council address pay inequities as one way of supporting our police officers.
Equally important is that we continue the work we've already begun, hiring people with skill sets in the various behavioral health fields so we can divert calls for service that are really more appropriate for addressing those kinds of needs than sending a cop. If we address both - pay, and support services - we'll be in a much better position to address the attrition they're pointing out.
The Tucson Police Officer’s Association said in a Facebook post it will release response times to car theft, domestic violence, and sexual assault calls as well.
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