Phoenix Police officers have been asked to reaffirm their oath of office during a ceremony happening at City Hall on Thursday.
According to the department, every January, the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department will be asked to participate in the event, starting with the chief of police and the executive and command staff, each member of the organization will be given an opportunity to take the Oath of Office.
The Phoenix Police Department will begin a new tradition of an annual recitation of the Oath of Office for police officers. This process will continue through each shift until the entire organization has had the opportunity to be a part of this special ceremony.
Chief Daniel Garcia’s decision has been criticized by leaders of the union, which represents over 2,000 rank and file officers. Part of the problem, according to PLEA President Joe Clure, was in the delivery. According to the original message sent to officers by the chief in mid-December, “within the first several weeks of 2013, all sworn members of the Phoenix Police Department will reaffirm their Oath of Office.”
“There’s nothing wrong with retaking the Oath of Office, however some officers, given the history we’ve experienced with the police chief drew the inference that somehow he doesn’t feel that we honor and respect the oath we took. That is a big deal and this is offensive,” said Clure, adding that Garcia did clarify that it was up to each individual to make the choice of whether or not to reaffirm their oath.
“That did help a little bit,” he said.
However, there seems to be a rift growing.
“In the six short months that he’s been here, the police chief has failed to make a connection with the rank and file police officers.
“He has essentially told them they don’t dress professionally, they needed a uniform change. He has told them, essentially, they don’t know how to do police work, in spite of the fact that we’ve come off of of 40-year-low crime stats. That they are undisciplined, therefore he’s rewriting the discipline police and now this comes out.”