NewsPhoenix Metro NewsCentral Phoenix News


Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams writes opinion piece, says department is becoming transparent

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jan 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-20 20:10:08-05

PHOENIX — Phoenix's chief of police said in an opinion piece Monday that the commitment to transparency is moving forward.

Chief Jeri Williams, writing in the opinion column, just hours before she would take part in Phoenix MLK parade.

"As promised our commitment to transparency is moving forward," she wrote, as she went on to say that the department is adding more body-worn cameras and there's quicker communication to the public on high-profile situations.

The piece went on to say that after fast-tracking body-worn cameras to patrol officers and sergeants, they will be adding cameras for specialty bureaus.

"Bringing our total to 2,200," said Chief Williams.

Williams also wrote for the first time, "a medically trained behavioral health expert rides with officers from our Crisis Intervention Team. We expect strong results that will benefit the community."

ABC15 speaking with Chief Williams at the MLK parade about releasing the piece on Monday, "It was just a time for me to share my voice, and to share with the community, how wonderful and amazing the Phoenix Department is," she said.

The commitment to transparency is on the heels of bad headlines from the department having the most officer-involved shootings in the country, to high profile abuse of force cases in Phoenix. Cases that made national headlines include a man in handcuffs being swept in the leg by a cop, while another officer pointed a gun at a pregnant woman and two kids.

There have been apprehensive with the department.

In a public forum last year, one local pastor said, "There is a distractive and dangerous systemic cancer in the Phoenix Police Department."

ABC15 asked the Chief what she would say to those still critical of Phoenix police. "I say that we said and did what we said we were going to do," she said. "Our commitment was absolutely strong in our roll-out of body-worn cameras, our increase of transparency, how we treat victims and how we treat one another internally and how we treat the community is going to be amazing in 2020," she said.

The Chief only staying positive and looking forward with the department. However, amid her outlook, there's a new case rising of a teen misidentified by police in the past two weeks.

The family of Dion Humphrey, 19, put in the ICU after his encounter with police.

The department told ABC15 that the teen was misidentified by a federal agent while searching for his brother, who is the suspect in an armed robbery and attempted murder.

A spokesperson for Humphrey's family said they plan to be outside Phoenix City Hall on Tuesday to correct what they call "misinformation and lies" from the department.