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Flagstaff City Council Moves Toward “Alternative Response Model” And Not Cut Police Funding

Flagstaff City Council

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The majority of Flagstaff City Council members did not want to take money from the police budget, but wants to develop a model to help officers by using other resources. Council heard from members of the public and discussed police funding and operations in a special Monday meeting called by Mayor Paul Deasy. The council looked at police staff shortages, and discussed improving recruitment tactics, as well as funding and plans for an alternative response model, which would call on behavioral health professionals and other individuals with specialized training to respond to low level situations. The city’s budget team was able to develop three years’ worth of further funding for alternative response in addition to tax money earned from recreation marijuana sales. Councilmember Jim McCarthy did recommend raising the primary property tax to increase funding for both traditional policing and alternative response, but no official decision was made. Mayor Deasy suggested shifting unfilled positions, to the new model. Council has no plans to “defund” the police, but heard many arguments from both sides of this issue. They took nearly three hours of public comment and only one councilmember, Adam Shimoni, suggested to “reallocate” funds from police to the alternative response model.

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Nicholas Bratcher

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