- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - A Phoenix police unit responsible for tracking down fugitives has been eliminated as part of a greater effort to get more officers on patrol duty.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams is moving about 170 officers, including the entirety of the Fugitive Apprehension Impact Detail, to patrol duty amid a staffing shortage at the department.

Neighborhood Enforcement Teams, which proactively work to reduce crime before it occurs, will also be scaled back, with 33 officers moving to patrol.

Response times for serious police emergencies have jumped to an average of more than six minutes this year, up from an average of five minutes in 2011 to 2015.

Williams says by shifting more officers to patrol duty should significantly reduce response times for calls of all priority levels.

Staffing changes will go into effect in February.

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