Committee Created To Boost Trust Between Phoenix Police, Community Meets For First Time
After a number of controversial use of force incidents involving Phoenix police, Mayor Kate Gallego established an ad hoc committee to guide efforts aimed at improving trust between the department and communities of color.
It was the first time all 19 committee members met. The two-hour meeting started with introductions, followed by breakout sessions where groups tried to answer four questions.
Committee members know there will be tough conversations ahead, but the goal is to find solutions to complex and sometimes deadly issues.
Janelle Wood is with the community group Black Mothers Forum. She is one of the members.
"There is a serious distrust and fear of one another and we believe that because of that fear and distrust that continues to escalate the interaction that we have with the police and vice versa," Wood said.
"I think what we all took away in our group was making sure that not only do we put these recommendations in place, but we set people in place to actually see it through; make sure it happens," she said.
Over the years, committees have been set up to identify best practices when it comes to police interactions with the community and recommendations were made.
Viri Hernandez with advocacy group Poder en Action is one of 19 people on this committee. She said a lot of those recommendations have either not been implemented or they were implemented but without purpose or accountability.
"The last 10 years have been ad hoc committee, subcommittees, other ad hocs and task force that have all led to the same recommendations," Hernandez said.
The committee will meet monthly and provide reports to the Phoenix City Council.