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Phoenix police reclassified

PHOENIX -- The City Council voted Monday to reclassify two positions in the police department, at an estimated cost savings of $6,200.

A detective and a sergeant will have their titles changed to patrol officer beginning in July.

Police Chief Robert Kershaw said the decision was an economic necessity. While he isn't happy with it, he said it's better than having to consider laying off personnel. He said the officers' duties would not change.

Because the department is so small, basically everyone is working patrol, said Kershaw. With the financial problems the city is in, I couldn't justify having people in those positions and not working in those positions.

Despite the pay cut of $2,100 to $4,100, the two officers will make more next year because of pay increases negotiated by their union in 1998.

Councilman Dale Draper voted against the change, saying that the two officers deserve their pay. I think there's other places to save money, he said.

The city's budget crunch has also cut the department's regular vehicle maintenance budget from $12,000 to $8,000.

If we have a major breakdown, it's going to hurt us, he said.