Mesa police chief talks about officer-involved shootings, fallen detective

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Saturday marks two months since the Valley lost one of its finest in the line of duty.

Earlier this week the Phoenix Police Museum unveiled its new memorial display, unfortunately, with a new name added to it, Detective John Hobbs.

Hobbs lost his life at 43rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road on March 3.

"It's hard, it really rocks everybody's world," said Chief Frank Milstead with the Mesa Police Department.

Milstead started the Major Offenders Bureau in 2007. Hobbs was one of his detectives.

"John was one of the guys that was well-liked for the right reasons," Milstead said. "It was because of a work ethic, a sense of humor and he was part of people you wanted to surround yourself with because of his demeanor."

That same work ethic saw Hobbs chase a known felon wanted for murder, a cop to the end taking down the suspect even though he was shot

"For the lethal round that John took that day exiting the car and for him to do what he did was extraordinary," Milstead said.

But in the aftermath of Hobbs' death, there are questions about violence against officers and also violence involving officers.
"I've lost friends in this job since the time I came on, so violence has been around policing as long as I've been here and before," Milstead said.
In Mesa there have been two officer-involved shootings this year. In Maricopa County, there have been 18.

"I don't know that there's a real spike in violence as some of these pieces of violence as these events have been close in proximity timewise, which makes it very apparent to us that it happens," Milstead said.
Officer-involved shootings are actually down 30 percent since last year -- better stats but Milstead knows the streets are violent and hopes his officers aren't on the wrong end of it.
"If I told you I didn't worry about my officers every day I'd be lying to you because I do and we all do as police chiefs or administrators," Milstead said. "We worry about putting people in the line of fire and in danger, but it is what we signed up for."

The drop in officer-involved shootings this year is in contrast to what state lawmakers perceived as a rise.

Also, earlier this week the Phoenix Police Department mentioned they will review all of their officer-involved shootings over the last five years.

Phoenix police reviewing officer-involved shootings from past 5 years

1 Phoenix police officer killed, 1 wounded in shootout