Phoenix police chief Daniel Garcia receives scathing review from fellow officers

PHOENIX - Phoenix's two police unions joined together Wednesday to release a scathing review of Chief Daniel Garcia's job performance.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association and the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenant's Association surveyed nearly 2,000 police officers in recent months.

The results:
- 93 percent were "very" or "somewhat" dissatisfied with Garcia's performance.
- 80 percent felt Garcia isn't an effective leader.

On the positive side, nearly 60 percent felt satisfied personally in their job.

"This is not intended to be a vote of no confidence," PLEA president Joe Clure said. "It's intended to be what it was: a measure of the morale and leadership of the Phoenix Police Department. "

Garcia became the chief in May 2012.

The former assistant chief from Dallas was selected after a year-long search. Former Chief Jack Harris resigned from the position in 2011 after ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing uncovered widespread inaccuracies with the city's kidnapping statistics.

Garcia sat down with Biscobing to discuss the survey. He said he intends to review the results carefully.  

"(Regardless) of where it stands, I'm going to make some determinations of what changes need to be made, if any," he said.

"For the first time in this department, they hired somebody from outside. And when city government does that, they want change," Garcia said.

City Manager David Cavazos shrugged off questions about Garcia's disapproval rating.

He said he values his officers' opinions but stands behind Garcia's hire. He points to positive in a recent survey of city residents.

"We hired the most qualified person for the job," Cavazos said. "The chief is committed to being a successful chief. We're committed to the chief. "

In addition to our interview, Garcia also released a statement:

I became the Chief of Police for the Phoenix Police Department during some of the most challenging and difficult times in recent history. Companies of all types have gone through unprecedented change during the past few years and we are no different. Policing is one of the most important and most difficult professions in our society today and the demand on our department and our employees is tremendous.

We have achieved a number of accomplishments during this past year, including a new Mission of Policing for the future. We have instituted a number of crime suppression programs based on real-time data-driven crime analysis and daily operational plans. We have focused on persons, places and behaviors targeting guns, gangs and drugs. We have enhanced our community policing and outreach efforts to better educate the community on our shared responsibility. We have expanded our downtown district to include 24/7 coverage. We have implemented a number of cost savings measures that have saved our residents millions of dollars; this without having to lay off a single police officer.

Many of the recommendations for change came from efficiency studies conducted by outside consulting groups, such as the Matrix Company and the Berkshire Group. The recommendations included changing our discipline procedures and restructuring the organization. Many of these critical tasks have directly involved the people of this organization, their personal lives as well as their families. I understand these changes are not easy and unfortunately, we may be faced with more in the months to come.

I am very proud of this organization and the men and women who serve our community. As the Chief of Police I will continue to evaluate the public safety needs of this community and balance this with our operational practices.

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