Post-Trump Talk Dominates Phoenix Police Listening Session

Published: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 7:02am
(Photo by Mariana Dale - KJZZ)
“Listening sessions are for us to learn, listen, improve and put things into action," said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams after her first community listening session on September 5, 2017.

The Phoenix Police department's actions at President Donald Trump’s rally last month dominated the conversation at a community listening session Tuesday night.

“I don’t expect that anything is going to be resolved in one night or in 12 listening sessions, but I think that it’s a start and I’m hopeful,” said Phoenix resident Rebecca Johnson after the event.

She was one of nine people who spoke up at the listening session.

There were plenty of empty seats in the crowd of about 30. It was a stark contrast to last week’s Phoenix City Council meeting where around 200 people commandeered the five plus hour meeting.

Johnson protested in downtown Phoenix the night of Trump’s rally. She said as a first-time demonstrator she was disappointed by how little warning protesters got before chemical agents were used to disperse the crowd.

“Honestly, personally I was let down because I thought the police were there to protect us and that Phoenix was going to be a better city than the rest of the cities before us,” Johnson said.

RELATED: Phoenix City Leaders, Advocacy Groups Respond To Post-Rally Chaos

This was Police Chief Jeri Williams’ first listening session since she started almost a year ago.

“Listening sessions are for us to learn, listen, improve and put things into action,” she said.

During the meeting Williams cited the department’s increased crisis intervention training as a result of last year’s conversations with the public. 

Williams said she wants to hear from the community, whether they’re happy with the department or not.

“I truly believe that a police department can’t serve people unless we know how they wish to be served,” Williams said.

Tuesday night was the first of of 13 listening sessions planned for September.

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