On Wednesday June 14, 2018, the Phoenix City Council Public Safety Subcommittee had its monthly meeting. One of the agenda items was a request, made under emergency conditions, from the Police Department to pay $149,000 to the Police Foundation out of Washington, DC to conduct a study on Phoenix Police Shootings.
What became troubling at the outset was the wording contained in the agenda item. The authors intentionally used inflammatory language in the request citing an “Immediate and critical operational need” for the study. Of greatest concern was the “Emergency Clause” cited which states:
“The high number of officer-involved shootings are a threat to public safety and expose the city to serious liability.”
This is an outrageous statement. Apparently, if you really want to convince someone a study is necessary, you spin the narrative to portray the cops as a threat and the ones who are putting the citizens at risk and therefore, exposing the city to liability. What about the risk being posed to our officers and the community by criminals? This phrase reads like an invite to the DOJ to put the Phoenix PD under consent decree. And, doesn’t a statement like this also tend to bias your intended study?
The inflammatory language in the agenda item was intentional to create the false narrative of exigency. This then allows the City to bypass the standard RFP process which requires three bids. Under emergency conditions the City or the police department can immediately pick who the contract will go to.
How about an emergency clause like this:
The unusually high increase we are seeing in violent criminal activity in the City of Phoenix is resulting in increased attacks against our police officers and citizens. This puts our officers in extremely dangerous situations, which has resulted in a much higher than normal frequency of officers having to utilize deadly force to protect themselves and the community.
CLICK HERE to read agenda item 5, of the Public Safety Subcommittee meeting.
Almost a week prior to the meeting, PLEA let Chief Williams know via e-mail that we were opposed to the study and why we were opposed.
CLICK HERE to read the e-mail from PLEA to the Chief.
PLEA attended Wednesday’s meeting to go on record voicing our opposition and concerns. The Chief previously told PLEA that she doesn’t think our officers are the problem; she knows the force used has been reasonable. If this is true then it would appear we are commissioning a study to examine suspect and or environmental factors. Again, a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and time. PLEA also detailed out the problems of attempting a survey of this magnitude. Spending $149,000 of other peoples’ money (taxpayers) on a study is a convenient way for police administrators and City politicians to deflect heat, whether real or perceived, away from them.
PLEA believes this money would be better spent on community outreach and education programs to include public service announcements on police community interaction.
CLICK HERE to read the comment presented by PLEA (note: we were not able to present all comments due to being cut off).
Despite universal opposition voiced from all sides, the OIS study was approved by a vote of 2-1 and will now go before the full council for a final vote.