We’re keeping a critical eye on the new armed guards hanging in Tempe’s parks.
Have you ever seen a dog walking off leash, or trash disposed of improperly in your neighborhood park, and thought: “Oh boy, I really wish an armed guard could come take care of this”? That evidently was the thought process in Tempe on October 22, when the city council unanimously voted to earmark $250,000 for private security in several city-managed parks. “If you look at the citizen community survey, one of the concerns that some have expressed is the overall safety in parks. People are fed up,” Tempe Police Commander Mike Horn told The Arizona Republic. Besides exuberant golden labs and Twinkie wrappers, anxiety over homeless individuals is also behind the move to hire global security firm G4S to patrol the parks with firearms, stun guns and pepper spray, one might assume. In media interviews, both Horn and Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby mentioned sightings of dirty, tossed-aside syringes. Not all Tempe residents are convinced. “I’m not sure I totally agree with more firearms within a public space as a better option to reduce a problem,” Tempe resident Justin Stewart told AZ Family. “On top of that, being a private security firm, I’m worried about public oversight.” Just be careful where you toss that Frisbee, pal.