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Letter: Proposition 457 ignores public safety

As president of the Glendale Law Enforcement Association, I represent the dedicated and professional men and women from the Glendale Police Department.  I, like many Glendale police employees, chose the profession of law enforcement for one primary ambition – to protect the innocent. Officers are honored to give citizens a peace of mind that we will be there to help them when needed.

However, Glendale officers feel like they are taking steps backwards, combating crime when they are forced to function with slim essential services and personnel.  Over the last few years, Glendale has cut millions of dollars from the police department. Now, the city is looking at eliminating millions more from our budget this next fiscal year, resulting in the lay-offs of 66 police positions.  Preventative enforcement units, like narcotics, will be eliminated entirely.

I have seen firsthand what criminal elements can and will do to harm our loved-ones.  With shortages in police manpower coupled with funding cuts, I believe Glendale will see serious long-term damage to communities, neighborhoods, schools and other services.  As a father of three and a police officer, I cannot let that happen.

Common sense can draw parallels between Glendale’s crime rates and budget cuts over the years. The city is No. 1 in auto thefts (in Arizona) and violent crime is up 13 percent.  Additionally, Arizona is still No. 1 in identity theft nationally. Border related crimes, like drug smuggling and human trafficking, continue to ail our city.  What statistics can Glendale citizens expect in the future with further public safety funding reductions and lay-offs?

No Arizona citizen wants to be taxed more than we already are in these economic times.  Families, like mine, have had to make changes in order to deal with our fiscal down-turn.  However, government’s core responsibility is public safety, and it must be adequately funded.  A temporary revenue source is Glendale’s only option to keep police services at their current levels.

Glendale police officers encourage you to vote "no" on Proposition 457.  Help protect public safety, and the men and women that serve you.


Justin Harris

President, Glendale Law Enforcement Association

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