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Report on Phoenix officer-involved shootings may be completed by end of year

Posted at 10:08 PM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-08 07:24:07-05

It's been a record year for the Phoenix Police Department, but not one they are celebrating.

On average there has been an officer-involved shooting nearly every week. Now, Phoenix police are spending big bucks to figure out why.

Phoenix police say a report looking into the use of deadly force will be made public and could be complete by the end of this year.

The number of Phoenix police shootings has nearly doubled in 2018 over the previous year.

The spike has been well documented, but the big question remains, "why is this happening?"

Police are hoping to get answers to that question, and suggestions on how to address the spike.
They have spent $150,000 for the National Police Foundation to examine every time their officers fired shots.

"The researchers will probably have access to everything," said Kevin Robinson. "They are going to start looking for telltale signs, that may allow the police department, maybe they need to up their training in a specific area."

Kevin Robinson spent 36 years with the Phoenix Police Department, where he was an assistant chief and head of the disciplinary review board for 12 years. Robinson retired from the department in 2017 and is now a lecturer at Arizona State University.

"You can never have too much information," he said.

That mantra explains why a new study was commissioned, even though ASU released an 'Officer-Involved Shooting Review' for the Phoenix Police Department less than five years ago.

"I think they’re doing the right things, every few years because things change. You want to bring folks in from the outside, open up the cupboard doors, and say, 'Take a hard look.' Are we doing things right, wrong, or indifferent?"

In a few weeks, Chief Jerri Williams could have recommendations on how to improve her department.

"This is money well spent because it may prevent an officer from using deadly force in the future," said Robinson.

Not everyone in the community is on board with the dollars being spent, but everyone hopes the report has a positive impact.

"Whatever they come up with, I think it will benefit the citizens of Phoenix and definitely to Phoenix Police Department," Robinson said.

Despite the title, the National Police Foundation is not staffed by law enforcement. ABC15 has been told the researchers conducting the research are all professors.

According to Phoenix police data, officer-involved shootings happen most frequently on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with the most common time of day being 4 p.m.

For a comprehensive breakdown of police shootings this year, check out the department's breakdown here.