Arizona's Family anchor Yetta Gibson sat down with the history making duo for their very first TV interview together.
Yetta: Okay we're going to start first with, how do you feel in your new positions?
Jeff Glover was with the Tempe Police Department for 20-years, barely made it a year into retirement before returning, becoming Tempe's first ever African American interim Police Chief. That happened October 2020.
Chief Glover: "You know, it feels wonderful to be able to be the lead of a police department, to be the Chief Executive officer of an agency and the being the first Black Chief of a Police Department here in the East Valley. I mean, for me, it's something special."
A few months earlier in 2020, Corey Woods was elected mayor of Tempe. The first Black man to hold that seat.
"I'm just excited to be here and honored to serve than just looking forward to the next three and a half years," Woods said.
Before being elected mayor, Woods served in the Tempe City Council for close to a decade. Leading is in his blood, growing up in New York City, watching his parents be very active in the civil rights movement.
"And so what I think about all the time is these things weren't that long ago, there people very much walking this earth like my father who can tell stories about having to drive in the south and having to pack huge picnic lunches because you didn't know where you could stop to eat food, you didn't know where you could actually use a restroom."
The first order of business for Chief Glover he says starts with the public safety task force and getting really honest feedback and suggestions from the community.
There were multiple high-profile incidents in 2020 involving Tempe police officers. Chief Glover says “I mean it is difficult because there's the lack of trust, right now in within policing. And it's understandable. In light of all of the events that have taken place across the nation. We don't get the benefit of the doubt anymore, which is something that I understood coming and taking this role, but it's about being able to earn that trust.”
Yetta: So bridging the gap?
Chief: Yes, absolutely.
Yetta: And Mayor, from your perspective. Is there anything that you see right away that needs to be done and big changes that need to be done in this city?
Mayor Woods: The biggest thing I would say that this is the honest truth, I feel like we have the right person here to work on doing those distances. You know I've known chief glover ever since I started on the city council back in 2008 we we've been colleagues we're personal friends.
Yetta: Do both of you feel any pressure with the Black Lives Matter movement and feeling like maybe it would be assumed that you're on the side of that, 100% versus being neutral and seeing both sides?
Chief Glover: Actually, I don't really feel pressured by Black Lives Matter, the movement. There's a lot of things that they have brought up, concerns that are justified concerns so I look at from both sides of the spectrum, being a Black person when I'm out of this uniform I look like anybody else.
Mayor Woods: Sometimes they're more eyes on you. And so it's interesting you made the comment, asking the question regarding do people feel any personal pressure, I don't personally know because my perspective is exactly what Chief Glover's is, that if I take the suit off, I'm a Black man.
Both of these men are in their new positions of power, in the middle of a time when the world is facing civil unrest, a pandemic, and racial injustice.
Chief Glover: “Well I would say that you know, especially as it relates to the images from the George Floyd incident, you talk about dishearten and the impact that has had on law enforcement, it has had a tremendous effect on law enforcement in terms of the need for reimaging, rebranding, reshaping some of the things that has occurred in law enforcement. Seeing that was painful but it's also something that in terms of when you're looking at reimaging and reshaping law enforcement, that is a perfect example as to why you have to have reform."
Reshaping, rebuilding, no doubt a huge task ahead for both of these Black leaders who plan make historic changes while already making history in their respective roles.
Yetta: So, February 2021 Black History Month, is there a message you want to send to people about how to reflect this year?
Chief Glover: I think the message should be again, with American history, Black people are a part of that history. We are part of the fabric of the community, we are part of the fabric of the history of America, we have done a lot in helping build this country literally and figuratively. And we are just as important as anybody else, and we are still making strides as we were in the 60's as we are today and continue to march forth.
Mayor Woods: Just looking at the two of us means there's clear progress being made but at the same time you talk about being part of a new civil rights movement, still a lot more work to be done and so I would tell people during February 2021 take an opportunity to reflect on how you gotten where you are and the sacrifices people that have made for.
Chief Glover: History has a way of repeating itself and I'm not surprised at all that we are here in the midst essentially of a second civil rights era.