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Phoenix announces candidates for first-ever civilian oversight committee

Posted at 9:45 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 01:15:25-04

PHOENIX — The three final director candidates for Phoenix's first-ever civilian oversight committee were introduced to the public Thursday night.

In May, the City of Phoenix approved the creation of the Office of Accountability and Transparency (OAT) to investigate police misconduct and launching investigations into complaints against officers and instances of the use of force.

"The mission of the OAT is to ensure complaints against Phoenix Police officers are handled fairly and objectively. The new office may also provide recommendations for training, policy, and disciplinary actions," wrote the City of Phoenix online.

The three candidates are, Andrew Myerberg, who is currently the Director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability (OPA), Erin Ellison, who is the Senior Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) at Arizona State University and Roger Smith serves the city of Cleveland as the Administrator of the Office of Professional Standards (OPS).

You can read their full biographies on the City of Phoenix website.

The three candidates answered questions from a moderator, as well questions from the community.

One local organizer with Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro said OAT is a good start, but there is still a ways to go to reform policing Phoenix.

"The office is a win for a lot of families who are looking for something different, in terms of accountability and transparency," said Jamaar Williams with Black Lives Matter Metro Phoenix. "Policing is so bad in our city than the office of accountability and transparency to see our lives change in a real substantive manner."

The three candidates will have a panel interview before the City manager. Right now, that’s Ed Zuercher but his last day is October 8, and his successor is Assistant City manager Jeff Barton. But they could be disqualified if a judge rejects Phoenix’s challenge to a new state law requiring police officers to be in charge of police oversight.