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Sources: Study of Phoenix police officer-involved shootings expected in March

Posted at 8:19 PM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 22:19:41-05

PHOENIX — Police Chief Jeri Williams will receive the findings from a National Police Foundation study on shootings by her department's officers as early as the first week of March, sources tell ABC15.

Chief 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.

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Last week the Chief 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.

Chief Williams was not available to comment for this story, but in August 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 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.

The subcommittee's next meeting is scheduled for March 13, the day after Phoenix elects its next mayor and two members of the city council.

Subcommittee chairman Michael Nowakowski told ABC15 Wednesday afternoon he expects the police department will receive a draft of the report within the next two to three weeks. Nowakowski says he doesn't expect the report to be discussed in his committee until April.