Social Justice Concerns Potentially Leading to More Law Enforcement in Phoenix?

By Jessica Perez

Over the last few years our roads have become more dangerous than ever before. While the state of Arizona continues to grow, so does the number of car accidents. Shortsighted solutions like the implementation of ticketing cameras have been discussed. Still, is the lack of police officers in traffic enforcement departments one of the causes to our deadly roads?

During the last Phoenix transportation, infrastructure, and planning subcommittee meeting, City Council member Laura Pastor challenged the implementation of ticketing camera systems. Siding with several citizens she acknowledged that the fines and consequences associated with automated enforcement often disproportionately affects low income and minority communities like those in her district. She also explained that automated enforcement does not provide the discretion a police officer is able to exercise during a traffic stop.

With traffic deaths rising, it is more important than ever for officers to protect citizens from reckless drivers. In the early 2000’s the city of Phoenix had over 130 traffic enforcement officers and are now down to 40 according to Assistant Chief Sean Kennedy. While, various defund movements believe that allocating funds from our police departments to other social services can be a solution to police misconduct, a lack of enforcement has had consequences like chaos on our roads rise.

Over the years, many have come to believe that a less prominent police presence is a solution to police misconduct. And while we can’t forget the lives lost to police brutality, we must also acknowledge that there are still officers trying to keep citizens safe. Defund movements don’t tackle the systematic issues within police departments but rather come up with