Phoenix approves hiring private security to patrol certain parks overnight

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — People will soon see more security at some city parks in Phoenix. With a 5-4 vote, the city council approved on Wednesday hiring private overnight security guards for eight parks. The patrols would start at 8 pm and end at 10 pm at Cortez, Washington, Pierce, Cielito, El Oso, Perry, Desert West and Maryvale parks. “This is what my constituents want, need and deserve,” said Councilwoman Ann O’Brien, who represents District 1.

The pilot program will cost $400,000 annually to help out the short-staffed park rangers department. Unarmed guards would be responsible for clearing the park once it closes, contacting city services for those who need it, and calling the police if they see a crime. Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari, who represents District 7, felt the security guards didn’t address the problem and wanted more resources for the homeless and those dealing with mental illness. “I want parks to be secure but I don’t want to waste our money just to make yourselves feel good, feel like we’re doing something when it’s just going to push around the problem,” she said. “I don’t think it’s good enough. I don’t think it’s strong enough.”

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