Since my return as your Police Chief in October 2016, the Phoenix Police Department has continued to build on the successes of Retired Chief Joe Yahner, while also implementing some of my own philosophies and professional experiences. As we move forward, I have established the following five focus areas:
1. Crime Suppression and Prevention
2. Community Engagement and Outreach
3. Training, Hiring, and Retention
4. Employee Well-being
5. Increasing Legitimacy
The Phoenix Police Department has completed its review of the 2016 crime statistics and has forwarded that information to the FBI as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting program. On a positive note, we did see a notable drop in burglary related offenses. In 2016, there were 13,024 burglaries. The last time there were fewer than 13,000 burglaries was in 1969. I attribute this drop to the hard working, professional men and women of your Phoenix Police Department, and I believe each of our focus areas will continue to make positive impacts as we move forward. While we experienced an increase in violent crime, it’s also important to note that our population grew by approximately (2.6%). Overall, we experienced a 13.0% increase in violent crime and a 4.3% increase in property crime from our 2015 counts. Despite this, I remain confident we are one of the safest major cities in the United States.
In keeping with my philosophy of community engagement, I have attended over 300 meetings and events. It is vitality important that we work together, create partnerships, and that you feel we are available to you. Many different Divisions and Units continue to create partnerships with community leaders, businesses and organizations that allows for open, factual, honest and transparent communication following critical incidents. Our goal is to share that information as quickly as possible, while also maintaining my obligation to follow labor agreements and state law on officers’ rights.
In February, we reorganized department manpower to ensure we operate at maximum efficiency in support of our crime suppression efforts. For the first time in nearly 8 years, we have grown the number of sworn officers serving the City of Phoenix. As of today, we have 2876 sworn officers and are working to grow to 3125 by next year. With this goal in mind, we are excited to implement new regional recruiting efforts. Which will allow us to actively pursue quality applicants out of state. With an emphasis on military bases and out of state colleges. Our focus is to select the best candidates that reflect our own Phoenix community.
Exceptional delivery of law enforcement services is at its best when your officers are healthy. The Department has implemented wellness programs and a new psychologist that will help us evaluate and implement policies that benefit everyone.
By bringing this all together we can increase our legitimacy with those we serve. We are your public servants and recognize we are stronger when we come together as one community, city, and team.
Police Chief Jeri Williams