Phoenix City Council narrowly approves civilian oversight of police

Feb 25, 2020, 8:51 PM | Updated: Feb 26, 2020, 11:29 am

(AP Photo/Matt York)...

(AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council on Tuesday night narrowly approved Councilman Carlos Garcia’s proposal regarding new oversight for the Phoenix Police Department.

The proposal passed by a 5-4 vote.

Designated as Model B, Garcia’s plan creates “two new city bodies —  a Community Review Board and the Office of Accountability and Transparency — that are independent from the police department, driven by community, transparent in their work to the public and investigative in their functions,” as described in the agenda for the council’s policy session.

The council approved Model B after Mayor Kate Gallego withdrew her favored course of action known as Model A right before the vote. The public comment overwhelming called for implementation of Model B.

Gallego’s favored proposal would have assembled both a Community Relations Board and a Civilian Police Ombudsman, the latter to have been equipped with a full staff in order to monitor and audit the oversight.

Before announcing her support of Garcia’s proposal, Gallego cautioned: “I do have concerns about implementation issues with Model B.”

“I’m proud of the forward momentum we have made in this past year. … No single policy exists in a vacuum. We’ve invested in better training, better cameras, more resources. … All of that works together. I’m grateful to our police department.”

Councilman Sal DiCiccio was among those who voted against the measure, calling it “the most radical, extremist anti-police plan in the whole damn country.”

“It is going to destroy the morale of our police department and put our public in danger.”

Councilman Michael Nowakowski said he’s been waiting a long time for a civilian review board to be created.

“I look forward to taking the ‘Team Phoenix’ approach with the community, Phoenix Police and city staff to ensure that this momentous vote provides the kind of transparency and oversight that our community expects,” he said in a statement.

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Phoenix City Council narrowly approves civilian oversight of police