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Tempe Mayor Corey Woods forming task force to examine police practices

(Facebook Photo/Tempe Police Department)

PHOENIX – Tempe Mayor Corey Woods is set to form a public safety task force aimed at examining and innovating policing in the city.

“The advisory group will focus on data, policies, hiring, use of technologies, training and how the city engages with people who are black, indigenous and people of color and those with mental health challenges,” according to a press release.

Tempe police officers, residents, and concerned activists are said to be included in the task force led by the mayor himself.

“It really is about everyone being on the same page upon the conclusion of this task force,” Woods told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

“We want to talk about best practices, talk about what the community expects, and also sort of use this as an educational process in terms of the police department explaining – here’s how we do things currently and why things are done in that way,” Woods said.

The group plans to start meeting the week after Labor Day and conclude by the end of 2020.

Woods’ advisory board hopes to identify and create proactive conversations designed to build trust, accountability and dialogue between the community and the police department.

“I actually doubt that a lot of what will come out of this will end being things that the city council is going to have to vote up or down on, at the end of the day,” Woods added. “I think there may be recommendations that come out of this that the police chief and her senior staff might make changes internally.”

With some community members following suit of national demands, Woods confirmed to KTAR News 92.3 FM he has heard some calling for the defunding of the Tempe Police Department. He however, has no interest in that.

“I’ve told people who have emailed me and asked me on calls: that’s not the point of this,” Woods added. “There’s been times where I’ve talked to people and they’ll say ‘Well, I demand you defund 20% of the police department’ – I don’t engage in things that are arbitrary numbers and percentages.”

Instead of defunding, Woods is focused on what he calls a “holistic” approach. He believes that will be accomplished with the city’s police department having a seat at the table.

The Tempe Police Department announced on Aug. 13 they were accepted in to the Arizona Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. This voluntary process is designed to ensure that law enforcement agencies have established policies, procedures and training standards ensuring the safe, efficient and conscientious delivery of services.

“Accreditation results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk, and increased community support, and more confidence in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently while responding to the needs of the community through dedicated public service,” Tempe Police Chief Moir told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Over the next 18 months, the Tempe Police Department will work to earn the approval Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police.

Accreditation is valid for a four-year period during which time the Tempe Police Department must submit annual reports proving their continued compliance with those standards.

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