New survey looking into staffing shortages among Arizona first responders
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s no secret police and fire departments across Arizona are severely short-staffed. Now, the Arizona Board of Regents is looking into why. It is conducting a statewide survey to better understand what is driving first responders away from the job.
“Survey of large numbers in both police and fire arenas to see if there are consistent themes as to why these men and women, why they are not staying in line of work longer,” said Fred DuVal, with the Arizona Board of Regents.
DuVal said the Phoenix Police Department has 500 vacancies. In addition, the Phoenix Fire Department is dealing with a record number of emergency calls. In 2022, crews responded to 400,000 calls. That is up 20,000 from the year before. “When we are understaffed, first of all, your response time is not going to be what you want it to be. People desperately need help and they need it right away,” said Andy Anderson, a former assistant Phoenix police chief.
DuVal said the survey is expected to take one year. They will talk to people on the job and those who left. The goal is to learn what needs to change to draw and keep people in the industry. “Not getting the right credits around community college, is it workforce issues, burnout issues. We want a review at what is driving these vacancies to give them ideas on how to solve it,” said DuVal.
DuVal said the survey will cost $800,000 and comes from a tax-funded grant approved by voters for research.
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