The city's panel assigned to review reported false kidnapping statistics from 2009 met April 11 to discuss what has been gathered so far and set goals for its next meeting.

Panel members reported what they have learned from meetings with Phoenix police, were updated on their timeline by City Auditor Randy Spenla and were able to ask questions and receive answers from some of the people involved, said Toni Maccarone, director of Phoenix's public information office.

Assistant Chief Andy Anderson, Cmdr. Joe Klima, Cmdr. Kim Humphrey, Lt. Lauri Burgett, Sgt. Phil Roberts, Detective Terry Yahweh, and Mark Spencer from Phoenix Law Enforcement Agency (PLEA), were all present for questioning.

The next meeting will be at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 25. The group plans to discuss "a draft report by the panel, an update on the audit the Police Professional Standards Bureau is conducting, an update on the work the City Auditor's Department is conducting and an update regarding the Department of Justice's look at the kidnapping numbers," Maccarone said.

The panel was formed after a recent investigation showed kidnapping statistics used to gain federal grants may not have been accurate. Public Safety Manager Jack Harris was removed from his position because of these findings.

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio of Ahwatukee Foothills is calling for an independent review of the statistics. DiCiccio says a panel set up by the city is not credible.

"I've made it clear from the beginning that the committee has a strong conflict of interest," DiCiccio said. "The reason for the investigation has the same people behind it. The same people selected the committee, the same people were set in charge of the committee, the same people set the agenda and are making the report. You cannot investigate yourself."

Maccarone denies any conflict of interest.

"This is an independent panel of five very qualified, highly regarded individuals," Maccarone said. "They are not city employees."

The city manager's deadline for the report is May 3.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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