Phoenix police say they’re meeting goals to improve community relations
PHOENIX – Phoenix police are pointing to a series of steps taken in the past year that they believe are putting them on a path to a better relationship with the community.
Chief Jeri Williams said in a June 5 memo to city management that the department had worked diligently to meet public safety needs in conjunction with recommendations made by the National Police Foundation for more transparency and better training.
One of the moves to address transparency was the sharing of critical incident briefing videos with the public. The videos include body-camera footage and emergency calls during officer-involved shootings.
“Studies prove tracking certain data can help reduce the number of officer-involved shooting,” Williams wrote.
Another step was to require officers to document each time they point their weapons at someone.
“We are analyzing this data to evaluate trends and provide further training,” Williams said.
More mental health training for officers was also among the suggestions to improve staff response to certain situations and their own well-being.
The chief cited a program in which dispatchers send calls to mental health experts rather than sending police, and an employee assistance unit to meet officer needs.
The memo also noted a “public facing data dashboard” was in development.
Tuesday, Williams announced her officers would no longer use a controversial neck hold to subdue a suspect, effective immediately.
That same day, Williams, who was sworn in October 2016, was named to the new national Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group.
The core of the group is made up of three mayors and three police chiefs from around the country.