PHOENIX — ABC15 has obtained the findings from a 72-page National Police Foundation study on shootings involving the Phoenix Police Department last year.
According to the Executive Summary National Police Foundation Report, they concluded that there "was an increase in officers encountering subjects who were armed with firearms or simulated weapons, as well as an increase in assaults on officers, specifically assaults on officers involving a firearm."
The report says the increase in 2018 was not only in the city of Phoenix, but across the Valley.
"There was no evidence revealed through the review of the policy and training that either was flawed or misguided," the report states.
Read the full report below.
Overall, the group came up with nine recommendations for police for short-, medium- and long-term periods:
1) Document when officers point their guns at a person/s
2) Improve consistency in data collection for periodic analysis of officer-involved shootings
3) Continue to improve training
4) Increase transparency through the sharing of data and information with the community
5) As transparency is increased, meaningful community engagement must be undertaken beyond PPD-selected advisory group or participation
6) Increase presence of proactive policing units
7) Conduct a staffing study to determine if Phoenix Police has sufficient officers to respond to calls for service demands and provide adequate back-up for responding officers
8) Continue improvements to the current Records Management System
9) Progress understanding of mental health issues, crisis response and treatment needs in the community
Police Chief Jeri Williams requested, and the city council approved, $150,000 for the review when the number of police shootings during the first six months of 2018 exceeded the total number of such incidents in each of the previous three years. By the end of 2018 there were 44 officer-involved shootings, by far the most ever recorded by Phoenix officers.
Chief Williams attended meetings in Washington D.C. While there, Williams met with representatives from the National Police Foundation and reviewed what was described as a preliminary draft of the report, according to sources familiar with Williams' actions.
In August 2018, Chief Williams told ABC15's Justin Pazera she requested the review because the department could not make any sense of why the police shootings were happening at such increased rate.
"These shootings have happened all over the city," Chief Williams said. "These shooting happened with different ethnicities, with different genders. I wish I knew the cause of it."
Since 2016, Phoenix Police recruits have received mental health training as part of their academy training. Approximately 400 officers have gone through crisis intervention training since 2003. Last year Chief Williams hired an expert from ASU's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice to assist the department in developing better ways for officers to deal with the community they serve.
But critics of Phoenix police say officers are often too "trigger happy." They have called for the firing of the Chief and the establishment of a fund to pay victims of police shootings.
Once the Chief receives the final report, the department will digest the results, then meet with city officials and community leaders before finalizing a plan of action. The first public presentation of the study will be before the Phoenix City Council's Public Safety and Veterans Subcommittee.
PoderInAction released the following statement in response to the report:
The National Police Foundation report released Friday morning regarding the 2018 officer involved shootings does not provide any new information nor provide any new solutions. Many of the recommendations made by the NPF are the same recommendations that community members have been demanding and continually ignored. Twenty years of reports and recommendations have been given to the Phoenix police regarding best practices, and although money and time gets spent, little has changed. The police department has done nothing that leads us to believe this report will be any different.
National Police Foundation report released Friday morning regarding the 2018 officer involved shootings does not provide any new information nor provide any new solutions. Many of the recommendations made by the NPF are the same recommendations that community members have been demanding and continually ignored. Twenty years of reports and recommendations have been given to the Phoenix police regarding best practices, and although money and time gets spent, little has changed. The police department has done nothing that leads us to believe this report will be any different.
In the time it took to finalize this report, dozens of people have needlessly died at the hands of the police and the City wasted $150,000 of our taxpayer dollars on a report that told us a bunch of things we already knew. Additionally, this report glaringly ignored community request to look into officer discipline and officer's use
of force histories.
We expect the City of Phoenix and now Mayor Gallego to take active steps to invest in solutions that will bring us safety instead of continuing to justify a violent police department.