Phoenix City Council to vote on community oversight of police

Feb 25, 2020, 4:45 AM | Updated: 5:38 am

(Twitter photo/Ali Vetnar)...

(Twitter photo/Ali Vetnar)

(Twitter photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX — A group called the Phoenix Civilian Oversight Coalition is demanding Mayor Kate Gallego vote to support civilian oversight of the police department.

“For years we’ve watched Phoenix Police make promises that they will change and that will take internal steps to rein in their culture of violence,” said Jamie Bunnel, one of the group’s activists.

“These promises remain empty. The police can’t police themselves.”

Amid growing public outcry for increased transparency from police, Gallego has supported the notion of a community oversight board.

However, her proposed oversight board would not be solely comprised of civilians.

“What I’ve come forward with is a model I believe is fair to… our officers and respects the community’s demands that we need to continue to improve the police department,” Gallego told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

Listed on the city council agenda as Model A, Gallego’s proposal would include civilians investigating Phoenix Police officers regarding any misconduct, officer-involved shootings or other related matters.

There would also be a law enforcement component to the investigative coalition.

“I have also proposed we create an ombudsman for the Phoenix Police Department who would serve as an auditor and monitor and have a significant staff,” Gallego added.

That staff would include outreach workers, policy analysts, an attorney and others who could take comments and complaints from the community.

The second proposal is listed as Model B and was introduced by Councilman Carlos Garcia.

Garcia’s proposal would include two separate investigations when matters requiring oversight arise.

One investigation would be conducted solely from civilians, while the other would be conducted by the Professional Standards Bureau.

“I think the benefit out of having two investigations is that the chief will have more information,” Garcia added.

“As long as the chief can get the right information both from the community perspective and the police perspective, we can all get to a better place.”

The council is scheduled to vote on these proposals Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

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Phoenix City Council to vote on community oversight of police