Opinion

Syms: It’s time to re-fund the police to keep us safe

Posted 9/28/22

As a mother, my heart breaks for the children of Eliza Fletcher, the Tennessee mom and teacher brutally murdered while innocently out for her morning jog.

As a policy maker and advocate who has …

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Opinion

Syms: It’s time to re-fund the police to keep us safe

Posted

As a mother, my heart breaks for the children of Eliza Fletcher, the Tennessee mom and teacher brutally murdered while innocently out for her morning jog.

As a policy maker and advocate who has spent my career working for safer communities, I am angry. I am angry because it has since come to light that the murderous monster had assaulted another victim the year prior, but because of Tennessee’s backlog of untested rape kits, he was never connected to the crime.

As a public servant, one of my early priorities was to tackle crime in Paradise Valley. At the time, there were nights when we only had two patrol cars protecting our town and criminals had taken notice.

I fought relentlessly to fund our local police department and to put more patrols on the streets. I was proud, for example, when Mayor Collins and I were able to create the PV Advisory Committee on Public Safety to make community policing a priority. It worked.

A hallmark of my career as a PV Town Councilwoman, assistant attorney general, and assistant U.S. attorney is tackling challenges head on with common-sense solutions. That’s why I became a policy maker and state representative. I want to serve and provide for others, leave my community better than I found it, and pass along an Arizona filled with opportunities for the next generation.

As a state legislator representing Paradise Valley, I pushed for landmark legislation that brought justice to the victims in Arizona that were far too neglected. I pushed Arizona to equip and work alongside our police departments to close multiple sexual assault and rape cases. I introduced and passed bipartisan legislation to clear a 6,000+ backlog of untested rape kits, which put many cold case offenders behind bars.

In fact, because of these efforts, the Scottsdale cold case in the murder of Allison Feldman was solved and her perpetrator will be put on trial for murder.

These tragic cases are cold reminders of how vigilant we must be when it comes to public safety. Had Tennessee pushed for testing of its rape kit backlog, for example, Eliza’s killer would have been off the streets and she would be raising her family.

Crime victims deserve leaders who will continue to fight for justice and safer streets. As a state representative, I fought to strengthen penalties against child sexual predators, fentanyl dealers, and DUI offenders. My priorities haven’t changed. With violent crime on the rise and Phoenix facing a 500-plus police officer shortfall, we need to prioritize public safety.

That is why I am proposing a Re-Fund the Police Initiative to attract and retain officers and make Arizona the most law enforcement friendly state in the country.

When I represent Arizonans, I worry about those forgotten who need our help the most. That’s the legislator I was and who I will continue to be for Arizona families.