Task force offers ideas to improve Phoenix P.D.'s relationship with community

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on May 24, 2010 at 8:29 AM

Updated Monday, May 24 at 8:29 AM

PHOENIX -- A task force made up of citizens is teaming up with city leader to offer some suggestions to help improve the relationship between the Phoenix Police Department and the community.

Those ideas include sensitivity training for officers, better oversight of internal investigations and exposing officers to cultural diversity in their communities. There's also the thought that officers should be required to carry business cards with their badge numbers and supervisors' contact information.

The group has already met three times and is slated to present its final recommendations in October. A public forum could be part of the conversation in the coming months.

The task force, which comprised of neighborhood leaders, watchdog activists attorneys and city employees, was set up as a response to a series of excessive force complaints.

The most recent of those complaints was filed in March by City Councilman Michael Johnson. He claimed his civil rights were violated when he was cuffed and thrown to the ground while trying to check on a neighbor after a house fire.

Other residents stepped forward after that to make similar claims.

Last week, the task force took a look at more than 90 claims of excessive force on the part of Phoenix police officers.

The investigation into Johnson's complaint reportedly has been wrapped up, but it's not clear when the details will be released to the public.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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