Phoenix Deserves Better

The recent article titled “Phoenix really needs federal monitoring of police” is both dangerous and deceitful. While it’s hard to comprehend how someone without any law enforcement experience, in any of the areas discussed, could so boldly write a piece designed to inflame the emotions of our citizens through emotionally laden rhetoric, it certainly is not a surprising tactic.

Federal Consent Decrees on police agencies have been a stain on American communities since their inception in 1994 and their continued failure combined with the cottage industry of “experts” making millions from them, have no choice but to inject scare tactics and lies into the communities they prey on in an attempt to justify the continued madness.

Unlike the assertions by Ms. Post, that a consent decree could somehow provide anything positive for the Phoenix Police Department, we have three decades of data showing that they utterly destroy the safety of communities while simultaneously costing the taxpayers millions each year. While Ms. Post attempts to justify the cost of this failed federal oversight at $1.5 million a year while simultaneously comparing that to the cost of lawsuits over 10 years, the first two years of any consent decree front loads 20-50 million dollars before an estimated $10 million a year kicks in for decades to come.

This is not hyperbole.

Minneapolis just budgeted $27 million for the first two years and if any of the previous consent decrees are an indication, they will need much more than that.

Seattle has been in a consent decree since 2011 and it just crossed over the $120-million-mark for its decree and the only thing that has changed in the Emerald City other than record crime is a police department with the lowest staffing since 1991. The quality of life is gone. Not even their $30,000 hiring bonus can help them, and they currently have more murders than police hires.

Seattle is not unique.

Look at the crime and staffing in all other consent decree cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans and Portland. Unlike Ms. Post’s belief in DOJ fairytales with happy endings for everyone, we know exactly what will occur in Phoenix under a federal consent decree because it has occurred in every city the DOJ has set up shop. Crime and budgets dramatically increase, police staffing and morale plummet, and the so-called “reasons” for a consent decree never manifest.

With the disaster of consent decrees, one may wonder why any city would do it and the reason lies squarely in the comments by Ms. Post. Citing an activist-funded organization, Mapping Police Violence, Ms. Post cites the number of police shootings in Phoenix where African American “use-of-force incidents” are “five times more than others.” While Ms. Post is trying to garner outrage by her words, she is missing the overall context the fact that use of force is directly related to those that commit crime and not the general population as determined by the U.S. Census.

While the misrepresentation of this data has been effective in ushering in consent decrees across the country, they have done nothing to stop any of this and research indicates that many more African Americans have been murdered because of consent decrees.

The Phoenix Police Department has implemented many accountability measures throughout the years including body cameras, civilians on review boards and mandatory de-escalation training. This has no doubt assisted our officers and the citizens they serve but ultimately the Phoenix Police Department is responsible for providing citizens a safe community and that entails enforcing laws and arresting violent criminals. The violence directed against crime victims in this city is, at times, used on Phoenix police officers and just as Ms. Post has a right to defend herself, so do the members of the Phoenix Police Department.

While Ms. Post wants to use numbers and statistics to point out the use of force by the Phoenix Police Department, it is more prudent and responsible to take each incident in context and analyze that for policy and law violations. Thankfully, every police encounter is on body camera and every use of force incident is scrutinized throughout the agency both as a policy and law issue. Deadly force incidents are reviewed by the County Attorney’s Office and our officers go through extensive training in the area of use of force.

While the core of Ms. Post’s writing is designed to scare our citizens with emotion and rhetoric, I am deeply concerned about the danger she has placed on our officers and citizens by exclaiming that our officers “murder black people.”

Not only was this one of the most inflammatory and irresponsible statements I have ever read, but the Department of Justice has also warned of this type of rhetoric. In a study titled “The Assailant Study,” the FBI stated that 28% of cop killers were motivated by social and political reasons to murder a police officer and that their motivations were driven by those who, in their view, were unjustly killed by law enforcement.

While Ms. Post may believe that her baseless claims would move public opinion on what anyone can clearly see is a failed overreach by the federal government, she has likely made the job of our officers and the lives of our residents more difficult and more dangerous.

Ironically, that is exactly what Federal Consent Decrees continue to do across the country and Phoenix deserves better.


Darrell Kriplean is President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. Reach him at

This article originally appeared at The Arizona Capitol Times.