Panel to review PHX kidnapping statistics announced

PHOENIX - Phoenix has announced the outside team that will audit the city's kidnapping statistics after an ABC15 investigation uncovered major problems with the police department's statistics.

On Tuesday, Assistant City Manager Ed Zuercher wrote a letter to other city officials naming the five-member panel and the scope of their review.

The panel members:

  • Larry McCormick, retired FBI Special Agent in Charge (Kansas City)
  • Hon. Cecil Patterson, Judge (ret.), Arizona Court of Appeals
  • Hon. Michael D. Ryan, Justice (ret.), Arizona Supreme Court
  • Karen Thoreson, President, Alliance for Innovation and former Tucson assistant city manager (panel chair)
  • Michael White, Ph.D., Associate Professor, ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Our investigation found at least 100 kidnapping cases in 2008 that legal experts said should not have been counted. Those statistics were also used to get more than $2.4 million in federal grants, records show.

In the days after our story broke, the police department admitted their statistics were wrong and the city temporarily removed Public Safety Manager Jack Harris as police chief.

According to the city manager, the panel will examine the kidnapping statistics for 2007 to 2010, how they are compiled, the grant application, and to see if there is a widespread statistical problem.

Phoenix officials have promised to complete the review by May 3. The first meeting for the panel is scheduled for next Friday.

We are reaching out to the new panel members to discuss the review. Check back for updates.

See the rest of our investigation -- Phoenix Kidnappings: Uncovering the Truth .

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