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ABC15 launches ‘Rethinking Policing’ to drive criminal justice reform

Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 18:29:00-04

PHOENIX — ABC15 is launching a new solution-focused reporting project to address systemic problems in Arizona policing and push leaders to fix them.

The project is called, “Rethinking Policing.”

While the problems are complex, the project’s goals are simple: Push for reform. Push for measurable change. Push our leaders to act. Push everyone to think differently about policing.

Why is ABC15 doing this?

If you’ve followed us over the past few years, you’ve almost certainly seen our constant reporting on police misconduct. We’ve covered hundreds of daily stories and aired major multi-part investigations.

The reporting has exposed clear problems and indisputable failures. The public demands better and even police say they’re open to change.

But in Arizona, calls for progress and reform often remain only words — not actions.

If anything, our leaders are defined by their inaction.

Our elected officials too often remain silent. They appear to lack the political will, motivation, and maybe even the belief to take action.

But there can’t be meaningful change without them.

So here’s what the public and public officials can expect in Rethinking Policing.

The coverage will be primarily handled by three ABC15 journalists: Dave Biscobing, Melissa Blasius, and Zach Crenshaw.

Dave’s job is to confront the power structure throughout Arizona. From state lawmakers to our national congressional and senate leaders, he will press them to finally acknowledge and act on problems facing their constituents.

Melissa’s job is to focus on solutions. She has aired more than 100 reports on policing in the past year alone. Given her insight, Melissa will search out new ideas being tried in departments across the country and bring those to our local leaders.

Zach’s job is to focus on City of Phoenix leaders and their slow and ineffective response to their troubled police department. Phoenix is one of the largest departments in the country and is plagued with “deep-rooted” problems. So Zach will brighten the spotlight on the local and elected officials to make sure the public sees and hears what they plan to do to fix the department.

In short, ABC15’s coverage will look different. For our public officials, it will feel different.

There will be more interviews with decision-makers and fewer statements from spokespeople. More solutions. More questions. More coverage.

If public officials ignore problems or remain silent, we will go talk to them.

No Valley news agency has reported as deeply and as often on problems with policing as ABC15 in recent years.

Our commitment to deep investigative reporting isn’t changing. ABC15 will continue to investigate new problems and follow through on ongoing series.

Rethinking Policing is a new commitment to expand our reporting.

It’s part of our commitment to make Arizona a better place to live.