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Tempe mayor, task force push towards continued police reform

(Screenshot/Tempe Police Department)

PHOENIX – Following a year of social justice demands brought on by the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the city of Tempe recently announced potential changes to its Citizen Review Panel and is examining how the city responds to calls for emergency service.

As the city of Tempe celebrated MLK Day, Tempe Mayor Corey Woods announced further actions would be taken to improve equity and community safety. Those actions include recommendations from the Public Safety Advisory Task Force.

“We’re really committed to taking some very new, holistic approaches,” Woods told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

In August, Woods announced that he would form a public safety task force aimed at examining and innovating policing in Tempe. That task force has since gathered virtually five times.

The goal was to create meaningful conversations between city officials, residents and the police departments, which could bring meaningful change through policy recommendations.

One of the first recommendations was to meet the criteria for “Eight Can’t Wait,” a list of policies by Campaign Zero that cities can implement to increase the safety of calls and save lives.

Tempe was previously in compliance with five of the eight policy recommendations. Tempe clarified its policies and training on chokeholds, exhausting alternatives before the use of deadly force and shooting at moving vehicles to earn the Eight Can’t Wait distinction.

“The result of these policy clarifications and changes makes us better as a police department,” Interim Tempe Police Chief Jeff Glover said in a press release. “We were pleased with the collaboration process with Eight Can’t Wait and the changes we have implemented have been received well during the training of our officers.”

In September, Glover came out of retirement to become interim police chief for one year, replacing former Chief Sylvia Moir who submitted her resignation at the end of October.

City Manager Andrew Ching previously told KTAR News 92.3 FM that he’d been in talks with Moir about her departure for several months. He thanked her for her good work and service as police chief, but ultimately believed it was time for the city to move in another direction.

Tempe’s Public Safety Advisory Task Force will hold its final meeting on Jan. 27. Woods expects additional recommendations for law enforcement reform to be finalized sometime in February.

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