Tempe council holds off funding additional park officer to combat homeless

Posted: Updated:
Tempe residents are asking the city council to assign a second police officer to parks to keep the homeless out. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Tempe residents are asking the city council to assign a second police officer to parks to keep the homeless out. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Residents who enjoy Tempe parks are making a plea to the city council: They would like to see a second police officer assigned to patrolling the parks to keep the homeless out.

Groups like Friends of Papago Park have been pleased with the city’s efforts to clean up homeless camps in recent months. They cited concerns about safety and maintaining the grounds.

However, a recent move by the council to hold off on approving funding for a second police officer assigned to parks has some disappointed and confused.

A city spokesperson says the council agreed this week to rollover the funding to the next budget cycle beginning next month. Later this summer, the council is expected to hear recommendations from staff about other ways to combat homelessness.

“The city had to come back in and spend significant amount of money cleaning up after them,” says mountain biker, Jon Conelly. “Now I would suspect by simply putting in another officer that they can combat that additional expense, so it seems to me a bit short-sighted.”

Mayor Mark Mitchell says he recognizes and hears the citizens of Tempe, but he wants to be responsible in finding solutions to help the homeless. He says the city has already added funding to rental assistance and other outreach.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

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