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Councilmember Regina Salas added: “Without law enforcement, anarchy, chaos and lawlessness may prevail.”
Vice Mayor Adam Shimoni said the city should examine alternative systems for public safety to augment the current police department — which other cities have already implemented.
Such systems employ unarmed specialists, such as those with mental health experience, who can respond to substantial portions of calls that do not require a sworn officer.
But that idea seemed largely passed over by the remainder of Council.
The last time the council received nearly as much participation from the public was over a decade ago in the late 2000s, according to City Clerk Stacey Saltzburg.
At that time, the issue was one regarding the nearby Snowbowl Ski Resort, according to Saltzburg.
Even the 386 emails city staff read aloud to the council do not represent the total number of messages the city received regarding police funding, said city spokesperson Jessica Drum.
Drum said they were unable to read some messages either because there was no name to attribute the comment to or no actual text associated with the comment.
“The City of Flagstaff has historically, we have a very engaged community, and I think we saw that community come out last night with strong opinions across the board,” Drum said.