Why I’m not about to give the Justice Department control of Phoenix Police

Do you know the nine most terrifying words?

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

That’s exactly what the Department of Justice said to the city of Phoenix more than two years ago when they opened a pattern or practice investigation with the intention of “helping” the Phoenix Police Department.

Throughout this investigation, Phoenix has been fully transparent and compliant with all their requests.

We’ve provided 81,000 documents, 20 terabytes of data from multiple systems, 200 recordings of 911 calls and 20,000 body-worn camera videos

.We have coordinated more than 200 hours of ride-a-longs, 100 interviews with police department and city staff and, most recently, interviews with our police chief, city manager and mayor.

Justice Department wants a consent decre

Even after observing recruit trainings at our police academy and visiting our city on seven different occasions — oh, and the $5.1 million this has cost Phoenix taxpayers so far — the DOJ has yet to provide any notice of findings or concern.

Let’s be perfectly clear on what the play is here: Just as the DOJ has done with other police agencies across the country, they’re hoping Phoenix will roll over and sign on to a consent decree — effectively relinquishing control of our department to them.

Don’t believe me? The last time they issued a finding that didn’t result in a consent decree was more than 10 years ago.

A federal investigation in Phoenix:Will only make things worse

A consent decree means we lose control over our department.

Want to promote someone? Ask the DOJ first.

Want to shift our policies to match the changing landscape? Ask the DOJ first.

Want to implement new technologies to help fight crime and clean up our parks? Ask the DOJ first.

Look how well that worked for MCSO

If you want insight on how a consent decree effects law enforcement agencies, look no further than the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Read The Entire Piece at AZ Central


Ann O’Brien represents northeast Phoenix in District 1 on the Phoenix City Council. Reach her at District1@phoenix.gov; on Twitter: @CWAnnObrien.