The Phoenix Police Department released a highly controversial independent study report on last year’s dramatic spike in officer involved shootings.
The 66-page report by the National Police Foundation was created through statistics as well as interviews with the community and officers alike. Fortunately, the study did not find any major issues with the department’s training and policies.
“We found no evidence in our review that policy or training is flawed or misguided and in fact found that PPD executive staff have taken many reasonable steps to strengthen both policy and training,” it said in the Key Findings and Recommendations section.
Where the study did find fault was in a disconnect between police and the public.
“Our discussions with the community and review of PPD actions revealed a lack of transparency on the part of PPD and a lack of trust between PPD and the community that may be inhibiting transparency,” it said.
The report made nine recommendations, including taking steps to track how often police point their guns at suspects, regardless of shots being fired, and taking a stronger role in sharing data with the community.
The study, which was requested by Chief Jeri Williams, was approved and funded ($150,000.00) by the Phoenix City Council in July of 2018. By the end of that same year, Phoenix officer involved shootings had reached a record 44. From 2009 to 2017, the department averaged 21 officer-involved shootings.
The 23 fatalities from last year’s shootings were the highest across the nation. Los Angeles Police Department was second with 14. Philadelphia, San Antonio and San Diego (all similarly populated cities) combined only reached 30.
Phoenix Police have already taken steps to make changes. These include more body cameras to help make officers, and hopefully the public, more cognizant of the interaction as a whole. New types of training have also been adopted to help officers not to react in a military style, but to handle real world situations such as mental health issues, suicides, road rage and more.
What does this mean to our city? The study showed an increase in police interactions with armed subjects, which leads to yet another question as to why? Is this a sign of a change in community? Family? Immigration? Over population? Or is it just a mixture of all of the above?
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See the full study online at: https://www.scribd.com/document/406830432/Npf-Ois-Study#from_embed