The task force was created in the spring of 2010, with the goal of engaging and collaborating with the Phoenix community to enhance police relations by creating dialogue and partnerships.
The group created the following recommendations that were shared with the community for feedback, recently finalized, and assigned to a new task force for implementation.
- The recommendations fall into five broad categories:
- Encourage community engagement/connectedness by the Police Department,
- Identify and enlist community partners to build better relationships with police,
- Encourage community engagement/connectedness by officers,
- Improve officer training, and
- Improve processes for accountability.
These recommendations were reviewed with the Public Safety Manager Jack Harris, City Manager David Cavazos, and in a final public hearing at which previous participants were invited to attend.
The Community Engagement and Outreach Task Force report and recommendations were presented to and approved by the Phoenix City Council on Jan. 11, 2011.
The recommendations also called for the establishment of the Community Engagement and Outreach Implementation Team, which was approved by the Phoenix City Council, to assure that the Task Force recommendations were implemented.
Encourage Community Engagement/Connectedness by the Phoenix Police Department
- Develop a comprehensive community relations program which includes regular communications focused on community crime statistics, community relations and victim’s rights.
- Use websites, social media, multi-lingual communication, etc.
- Develop mechanisms to communicate more effectively with community-based organizations.
- Develop a regular "State of the Police Department" report.
- Improve communication at the precinct level by providing police management contact information to the public.
- Provide school-based education/awareness (including community colleges and universities within Phoenix) on city laws for students, parents, eagle scouts, explorers, etc.
- Survey the community in order to identify the community’s attitudes toward police.
- Emphasize recruitment of minority officers to further ensure the department reflects the communities it serves.
Identify and Enlist Community Partners Involvement to Build Better Relationships with the Phoenix Police Department
- Enlist commitment of local leaders to develop, sponsor, and promote participation of the public and the Police Department.
- Participate in ride-alongs and the Citizen’s Academy to gain a better understanding of what an officer deals with.
- Encourage community leaders, faith-based organizations, and non-profits to share community concerns with police on a regular basis.
- Invite the Police Public Safety Manager and police management to speak or to attend functions.
- Conduct community-sponsored town hall meetings.
- Sponsor an interfaith “Annual Public Safety Day” event.
Encourage Community Engagement/Connectedness by Phoenix Police Officers
- Require police officers to provide a professional card with their name, badge number, and supervisors contact information whenever they interact with the public.
- Encourage officers to exit their vehicles daily to engage individuals and business owners.
- Serve as good-will ambassadors and public safety facilitators by encouraging and recognizing officers who are functioning in other capacities in the community, such as coaching Pop Warner leagues and coordinating PAL events.
- Encourage partnerships between precinct officers and schools, community colleges and universities.
- Develop long-term individual relationships with community leaders, faith leaders and business owners.
Improve officer training
- Train, educate, and require officers to be more and culturally competent in regarding differences of race, color, national origin, sexual-orientation, and disability.
- Use appropriately trained community representatives including peer officers to conduct training.
- Train and require officer compliance with operations orders related to report writing.
- Educate officers that videotaping of their actions in public is lawful and that their behavior at any time might be videotaped by an onlooker.
Improve processes for accountability
- Improve the process to address citizen complaints, use of force tracking, and police misconduct.
- Allow complainant to review the officers’ comments and submit additional information to the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) once the investigation has begun.
- Provide a process where complainants have the same level of representation during the complaint process as officers.
- Improve the process for notifying complainant of the status of their complaints including notifying complainants whenever the assigned investigator at PSB has changed.
- Establish ongoing multi-lingual/cultural campaign to explain the complaint and commendation process so that the public will understand the process better and use it.
- Conduct a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of installing dash cams with audio and video capability in all patrol cars and offer recommendations to city management.
- Require urine analysis (UA) testing after every officer-involved shooting.
- Evaluate public and business owners’ involvement in allegations of police misconduct.
- Investigate for potential implementation, the Department of Public Safety's software program that classifies the who, what, and where of those being cited in order to discern patterns of profiling.
- Create a single repository for personnel records of police officers and a single custodian of records.
- Work with members of the Defense Bar Focus Group to create an ombudsman-type position for scheduling interviews of police officers.