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Fri, Dec. 06

PV Police chief: Town Council candidates have ‘dangerous views’
Jarrell says calls for tax repeal would hurt his department

Prescott Valley Chief of Police Bryan Jarrell said if the sales tax is repealed he would have to lay off 12 officers.
Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Prescott Valley Chief of Police Bryan Jarrell said if the sales tax is repealed he would have to lay off 12 officers.

Police Chief Bryan Jarrell said, on Thursday, Aug. 11, that the five challengers running for town council seats are “ignorant” of the realities of government and policing, and their stated plans to repeal the town’s half-cent sales tax would devastate the police department.

He’s only met one candidate in person, Kevin Trovini; he makes his judgment based on what he’s heard them say in public forums and what he’s read in the newspaper.

Jarrell said that, as things stand, with the town giving him the funding to add staff, he’s able to stay about even with the growing population.

“Granville is starting four new homes a week,” he said, and 108 new businesses started operation last year.

But it still takes nearly a year from hire to putting a new officer on the street; it takes that long to train them. That means officers he hired last month won’t work alone until April 2017.

He’s also hired civilians who shoulder much of the burden that previously took up the time of the sworn officers and lets them get back on the street.

The problem, Jarrell said, is the challengers “are running on these platforms that are dangerous to the future and security of this town, as far as a safety perspective.”

The major problem he has with their platforms is their total objection to sales taxes.

“It scares me when I hear people saying … ‘the tax rates are too high, we’ve got to roll them back,’ because then all of us are going to suffer greatly,” he said.

“The only way we can support town operations…is through the sales tax,” he said, noting that the town gets none of the property taxes collected — it all goes to Yavapai County.

He took issue with candidate Joey Cilano’s claim that “we already pay the third-highest sales tax in the state,” calling it “a blatant lie.

“Out of 78 cities in Arizona, 39 have a higher tax rate than we do, so we’re kind of in the middle,” he said, and pointed to the fact that most of the cities with a lower tax rate than Prescott Valley also receive some part of the property tax.

Cilano said that he believes there is enough room in the town’s $82.2 million budget to ensure the police department has what it needs, if council puts its priorities in the right place.

“If the council had given it a second look, then they could have found the money somewhere without increasing taxes” Cilano said. “We need to have a new conversation about what everything is being spent on.”

Repealing the half-cent sales tax would have an immediate impact on Jarrell’s department.

“If that were to happen, I would have to lay off 12 people the next day,” he said. “And we go back to being a strictly reactionary police department, with, many times, the inability to respond to simple, non-emergency type calls,” like minor traffic accidents.

Jarrell has seen what that kind of policing looks like. For 28 years, he worked in the Southfield, Michigan Police Department, rising to the rank of Deputy Chief.

“I worked next to a city … that did not have the right staffing, it didn’t have the training, didn’t have the equipment to do their job property.

“The city was Detroit. Nobody wants to live in a City of Detroit. It’s not safe,” he said.

“It’s easy to say, ‘I support police’… But it doesn’t come free.”

Cilano said that he does support the Prescott Valley Police Department.

“I appreciate everything that the police department in Prescott Valley does, and I appreciate everything that Chief Jarrell does,” he said. “When the voters who are upset about the sales tax increase vote in new blood, hopefully we can sit down and talk about where the money is going.”

Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy. Call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2038 or 928-642-7705.

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