City of Phoenix finalizing contract to handle pilot park security program – ABC15 Arizona in Phoenix

A pilot program was approved in November to add private security to some Phoenix parks. The city is still finalizing a contract with the company hired to deploy the security guards.
Neighbors are telling ABC15 that park security concerns persist.
“I walk a lot,” said Homeowner Connie Cabot. “At least once a day. Sometimes two or three times a day.”
Cabot usually takes about five minutes to walk from her home on 24th Drive to Washington Park.
“The neighbors are very irritated,” added Cabot.
Most concerns for Cabot and her neighbors, she says, are people trespassing and lingering in the park overnight leaving a mess behind.
Cabot says homeowners are often left doing the clean-up.
“It’s my community. I was raised to obey the law, respect the law and respect facilities the city of Phoenix provides,” added Cabot.
Last month, the Phoenix City Council approved an $800,000 plan to add private security at a dozen parks to serve as eyes and ears for a short-staffed team of park rangers.
One of those parks, Cortez, is among the 12 and is in Councilor Ann O’Brien’s district.
O’Brien revealed Cortez makes up 21% of all calls for trespassing and codes of conduct violations from the parks set to receive added security.
“I am very excited to support this option that help move along people who are not following our park rules and support our park rangers and police officers,” added Councilor O’Brien.
Cabot questions the cost of the six-month pilot program and the power of its security guards.
“Are they going to cite the people for trespassing? What are the security guards really going to do? Are they going to call the police? Are they going to call the rangers? What really are they going to do,” asked Cabot.
Only park rangers can issue citations and police can make arrests.
The guards will be doing things like patrolling the parks and educating the public about rules.
While Cabot isn’t a big fan of the program’s price tag, she does acknowledge the need for added security and offers her own solution she believes is more efficient. And says would make this park look like a lot of other parks.
“There are some parks that are fenced. I don’t think you are seeing these problems in the parks that are fenced. I don’t know what it could cost to fence this park,” added Cabot.
The pilot program was expected to start in four to six weeks.
We’re now in week number four while the city is working to finalize a contract with the security company.
Security guards are already in place at three other parks in the city.
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