In recognition of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

When I was on the Phoenix City Council, I made it a priority to work toward attracting new jobs, supporting education and creating a safe city for our residents. Phoenix is growing. But as our city has grown, we have seen drawbacks, such as increased emergency response times and fewer officers on the street.

Phoenix is the 5th largest city in the country, but our dwindling police force says otherwise. As recent as 2016, Phoenix had 2,763 police officers, compared to Philadelphia, a city almost mirrored in population, with 6,313 officers – more than double the number of officers on our streets.

This is why public safety remains a top priority for me, and why while on Council I fought to lift the hiring freeze to ensure we had more officers to serve our communities. I also worked to secure federal grants to provide new equipment and training for our first responders, and to add more officers to the force. As a firefighter myself, I have worked side by side with some of the bravest men and women to keep our neighborhoods safe.

I have walked with them, down dark alleys, I have seen them calm domestic violence situations, I have witnessed them work to protect our children in schools. Our first responders are there to assist victims, and help victims understand their rights. That coordination with police is critically important. But our officers lack the necessary resources to aid them in their duties. New technology, a better understanding of the behavioral health issues of today, and methods for dealing with high-stress situations are all vital, necessary tools.

I’m running for mayor of Phoenix because I believe the foundation of a great city is built upon maintaining public safety. The recession forced drastic cuts to our police force, and attempts to allocate additional resources where most needed has fallen short. Our first responders are stretched too thin. They are overworked and overstressed. Make no mistake, police officers are not the enemy, but the first line of defense against criminals trying to harm our residents and damage their property.

My opponent has disrespected the hard-working men and woman in uniform, while I am committed to standing with our officers to provide them the tools they need to keep our streets safe. Which is why when I am mayor, one of my first orders of business will be to call for the hiring of hundreds of new officers and police personnel to protect our neighborhoods and serve our city. Public safety is not a partisan issue: violent criminals, burglars, and con artists who steal from our seniors do not care what political party you belong to.

I stand committed to the people of Phoenix and to the police officers that protect and serve our great city. Whether you are improving infrastructure or patrolling a beat, you are appreciated and I will fight for you. I am proud to call Phoenix my home and raise my family here. I lived the childhood that makes me want a better future for your children.

Phoenix is one of the largest cities in the country. Together, we can make it one of the safest.

- Daniel Valenzuela