Police institute new community interaction rules - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Police institute new community interaction rules

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Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 4:00 pm

Phoenix police will begin implementing a raft of measures designed to improve relations between the department and the public after the City Council gave the plans a positive review last week.

"The common denominator was to find a way for the police department to better deal with the public," said Councilman Sal DiCiccio, whose district includes Ahwatukee Foothills. "If we need to be doing a better job of communicating, we should do it."

The list includes such things as requiring officers to undergo a urine analysis test after any officer-involved shooting, educating officers that videotaping of their actions in public is lawful and that their behavior at any time might be videotaped by an onlooker, sponsoring an interfaith "Annual Public Safety Day" event and emphasizing the recruitment of minority officers to ensure the department reflects the communities they serve.

The Community Engagement and Outreach Task Force, created by Phoenix officials in the spring, distilled the results from public input taken at a series of community meetings across the city in September, including one at the Pecos Community Center in Ahwatukee Foothills.

The purpose was to develop an action plan to ensure that police treat all people with respect, dignity and professionalism. Some of the suggestions include mandating that officers provide a professional card with their name, badge number and supervisor's contact information whenever they interact with the public.

Other recommendations include:

• Encouraging community leaders, faith-based organizations and non-profits to share community concerns with police on a regular basis.

• Developing a regular "State of the Police Department" report.

• Allowing residents who file a complaint about an officer to review the officers' comments and submit additional information to the Professional Standards Bureau once the investigation has begun, as well as providing a process where complainants have the same level of representation during the complaint process as officers.

• Training officers to be more culturally competent regarding differences of race, color, national origin, sexual-orientation and disability.

• Encouraging officers to exit their vehicles daily to engage individuals and business owners.

• Conducting a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of installing dash cams in patrol cars.

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