Phoenix police change plan; will keep one fugitive tracking squad

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS5) (Source: 3TV/CBS5)

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams is scaling back on her unpopular plan to eliminate the entire unit in the department that tracks, investigates and arrests fugitive and violent criminals.

Williams announced in December a restructuring that reassigned 170 officers from specialty units back to patrol. The plan was designed to cut down on response times when people call the police for help.

That plan included the elimination of the Fugitive Apprehension Investigations Detail made up of 20 officers and 3 supervisors.

The FAID unit, as it is known, goes after the worst of the worst and supports other details like the SWAT officers and Gang Unit.

But the announcement of FAID’s elimination was met with a lot of opposition.

“We did hear from our city officials. We heard from our community. We heard from the FAID officers and to me, more importantly, we heard from the detectives and the officers that FAID supports,” said Sgt. Jonathan Howard, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman.

Police insiders who were critical of the move include retired Mesa Master Police Sergeant Bill Richardson.

“That sounds great. Look we reduced our response time by a minute and fifteen seconds. Yeah … but. You’ve got people that are out there that are extremely dangerous and you know they’re dangerous and you have to find them and I think that the Phoenix Police Department’s made a big mistake,” Richardson said back in December.

Williams vowed to keep an open mind and take input on her plan until the final decisions had to be made.

“At the end of the day she’s going to make the tough decisions and she’s going to stand by them as her own. But she’s said since the beginning that she needs the input and she wants the input,” said Howard.

That input apparently convinced Williams to modify her plan.

On Tuesday, Howard confirmed that FAID would not be completely eliminated but it would be scaled back significantly.

“We originally had assigned twenty FAID detectives and supervisors back to the patrol function. But we are going to allow eight detectives and one supervisor to stay in that to cover a gap that our tactical support bureau has identified,” said Howard.

The FAID detectives give support to other specialty officers like the department’s SWAT and Gang units.

In 2016, according to Phoenix police, the unit arrest 93 homicide suspects,133 robbery suspects, 167 child sex crimes suspects and 89 sexual assault suspects.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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