Former DPS director Milstead focused on results of Phoenix Police probe
PHOENIX — Arizona’s former top law enforcement official wants the public’s focus on the results and not the politics of the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation of the Phoenix Police Department and the city over potential civil rights violations and abuses of power.
Frank Milstead, former director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety and 25-year veteran of Phoenix Police, does believe the probe has political motives but wants reassurance there aren’t widespread problems in the department.
“At the end of the day, the genesis of why this investigation is happening is not nearly as important as the results,” Milstead told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Friday.
Milstead added he believes in Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, whom he considers a friend, and the department’s vision of service at the highest level.
Two Phoenix City Council members — Sal DiCiccio and Ann O’Brien — have expressed concern over the motives of the investigation, which was announced Thursday.
“Don’t be afraid of the results of a legitimate investigation. One thing in life that is always a constant is the truth. The truth is the constant,” Milstead said. “The variable is perception and vantage point of the truth.”
The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division will review the police department’s use-of-force practices.
It will also look for patterns of retaliation over activity protected under the First Amendment and discrimination against people with disabilities or who are homeless.
The DOJ reviewed media reports, court files and citizen complaints before deciding to move forward with the Phoenix probe.
Williams said Thursday that the investigation could last over a year.
“Leadership and professional police organizations, they want to do things at the highest level,” Milstead said.
“They want world class police service, they want to make sure that their people are held accountable and that the public believes in what they do.”