By Councilwoman Thelda Williams
This month, recommendations from the Review and Implementation Ad Hoc Committee will be presented to the Phoenix City Council for action. The recommendations propose to make significant changes to the Phoenix Police Department and the City of Phoenix.
The committee was created by Mayor Kate Gallego in July 2019; it includes 17 community members and Councilman Carlos Garcia and I are its co-chairs.
The intention of the ad hoc committee was to review past and current recommendations made to the Phoenix City Council and the Phoenix Police Department related to strengthening the department and the relationship between the community and public safety officers.
The ad hoc committee divided their recommendations into six categories: community engagement; policy and oversight; reporting; training; staffing and efficiencies; and citywide.
Some of the recommendations include multi-million-dollar investments by the city to community and healthcare partnerships that do not involve the police.
The committee also recommends a policy to seek “least harm” for minor infractions and to prioritize “cite and release” over arrest.
These are just a couple of the recommendations; in all there were about 10 with sub recommendations.
While the committee considered all the reports and engaged in detailed discussions, the committee was not unanimous in their recommendations and a clear majority was not achieved.
Residents in my council district are overwhelmingly supportive of police. That’s not just what I hear in conversations with residents, it is what residents expressed in a recent survey I sent out.
More than 1,000 District 1 residents responded from every zip code in our district. The responses didn’t just come from a small section of our district or a select neighborhood, they came in from residents across the board from Northern Avenue to New River Road.
Here are some of the results:
• 87.38% are very satisfied and satisfied with police services in Phoenix.
• When it comes to the relationship between Phoenix Police and the community, 89.91% of the respondents said it was excellent and good.
• 94.41% of those that responded said they would not hesitate to call the Phoenix Police Department for assistance.
The responses in the survey did not surprise me. The Phoenix Police Department has been recognized nationally as a leader in community-based policing and I am grateful for the outstanding men and women who work hard to serve and protect us.
While we can always improve and find ways to work together with the community, you should be aware and informed about changes that could have lasting consequences. When the recommendations move forward to the city council, please review and provide your comments on the record. You can find more information at phoenix.gov or visit phoenix.gov/police/transparency.
If you have any questions, call my office at 602-262-7444.
Councilwoman Williams serves as the District 1 representative, which encompasses north west Phoenix from Northern Avenue to New River Road and the Interstate 17 to 67th Avenue.