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Phoenix Budget Battle: Body Cameras or More Police?

May 03, 2016  | 

Phoenix's proposed budget includes $11.4 million to equip every patrol officer in the Police Department with a body-worn camera to track interactions with the public, from routine traffic stops to homicide investigations.

But would that money be better spent hiring more officers or giving officers better pay and benefits? Or should the city try to balance all three demands at once?

That's a debate among city leaders as they negotiate the city's $1.22 billion budget for the next fiscal year. City Manager Ed Zuercher wants to set aside $11.4 million to phase in a full body-camera program over the next three years.

Some residents and council members have called for the city to instead use the money to speed up police hiring or restore pay and benefits for officers who took cuts the past six years. The money could pay for about 100 more officers for one year, AZ Central reports.

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