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Think Tank: A conversation with Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams (Phoenix Police Department Photo)

A Conversation with Police Chief Jeri Williams

Phoenix has a new police chief, Jeri Williams. We spend this week’s Think Tank engaging the new chief on a number of topical issues.

Most new police chiefs pledge to suppress and prevent crime. Williams made this pledge but also set forth four other principal goals for the department. We ask her about these five objectives and how they fit into her view of how she will direct the department she now heads.

We also take on several contemporary issues head-on:

  • What of “Black Lives Matter”?
  • Does Williams think there are racial disparities in policing in Phoenix?
  • The department espouses “Community Policing” as a model. What does this mean, and how does it differ from traditional models of policing?

A Personal Note: These topics are personally salient to me. Many years ago, I worked as a police officer in Baltimore, Maryland. On the surface the environment I witnessed there seems very different from what I see here in Phoenix today. (The Freddie Gray case there seemed typical of what I observed from the inside of that police department many years ago). Is it that different in Phoenix in 2016? I am personally and professionally curious and I explore this with Phoenix’s new police chief.  –Mike  O’Neil