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​In an effort to keep our​ community informed, the Phoenix Police Department would like to let you know that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting a Civil Pattern or Practice inquiry into the Phoenix Police Department. The department welcomes this inquiry to help us understand how we can better serve the community.

It is important to note that this investigation is an investigation of systems and policies identifying​ practices or patterns related to specific areas. 

This is not an investigation of individuals or any one specific incident. 

​To provide feedback, give input, or find out more about this process you can contact the DOJ directly at: 

866-432-0335
phoenix.community@usdoj.gov

​If you are having trouble reaching the DOJ, please feel free to contact the Phoenix Police Department Liaison Team at ppd.dojinvestigation@phoenix.gov​​​.​​​

 August 5, 2021 - News Conference


 FAQ

What specifically will they be looking into? 

  1. Whether PPD uses excessive force, including deadly force 
  2. Whether PPD engages in discriminatory policing practices 
  3. Whether PPD retaliates against individuals engaged in protests or demonstrations 
  4. How the City and PPD deal with behavioral health disabilities and those in crisis
  5. Whether the City and PPD violate the rights of those experiencing homelessness by unlawfully seizing and disposing of their belongings.

Who will be doing the investigation? 

​Lawyers from the Department of Justice will be conducting the investigation and they will bring in police subject matter experts to assist them. 


​Is this a civil or criminal investigation? 

This is a civil investigation. They are not looking to criminally investigate individual officers. 

Who will they be interviewing? 

Investigators will be talking directly with people throughout the police department as well as other city employees. They will also be taking input from the community. Phoenix.Community@usdoj.gov​.

How long will the investigation last?​ 

That is difficult to predict. The last two investigations of similar police departments in Baltimore and Chicago took a little more than a year. 


Will this investigation have any effect on the services police provide to the community? 

 No. The Phoenix Police Department is committed to the mission to protect, serve and reduce crime, while treating everyone with dignity and respect. Any changes, policy reviews, or reforms currently underway will continue as planned. The DOJ has encouraged us to move forward with reforms and changes we have in progress. ​


What does pattern or practice specifically mean?

The DOJ conducts an independent review to bring to light any persistent patterns of misconduct and whether systemic deficiencies enable it to persist. They are evaluating repeating behavior as opposed to one-time events.

 Timeline

2021 

Week of August 2

DOJ opens a Pattern or Practice Investigation into the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department.

City and police leadership meet with DOJ to discuss the process of investigation.

Week of August 9

DOJ holds the first community meeting virtually for input from the public.

Week of August 16

DOJ discusses records retention ​with city.

Week of August 23

City staff provides DOJ with citywide record retention schedules, Arizona’s minimum retention requirements for law enforcement agencies and Phoenix Police Department retention schedules.

Week of August 30

City and PPD creates interdisciplinary teams designed to facilitate cooperation with the DOJ investigation. This includes a six (6) member Liaison Team within the police department, headed up by an Asst. Chief.

​Week of September 6

DOJ requests 70 items related to policies and procedures, training, supervision, organizational structure and leadership, behavioral health response, response to those experiencing homelessness and data/technology systems.

Week of September 13

DOJ and City/PD leaders meet to discuss protocols on how to deliver the information requested as well as discussing retention schedules and the litigation hold.

PPD Liaison Team attends patrol briefings to outline the purpose and objectives of DOJ liaison team and fields questions about the investigation.

Week of September 20

DOJ begins scheduling virtual site visits and virtual interviews, set to begin next week.

Staff fulfills first request for documents.

Week of September 27

DOJ virtual interviews with city employees begin.​

Staff evaluates needs for software to streamline document sharing process with DOJ.

​Week of October 4

PPD staff holds community meeting to raise awareness about the DOJ investigation and answer questions.

PPD Liaison Team attends additional patrol and specialty briefings to update staff on the investigation and answer questions. 

Week of October 11

PPD Liaison Team meets with the police department’s American Indian Advisory Board to provide information and answer questions about investigation. 

Week of October 18

Staff discusses and reviews mock-ups of DOJ Community Resource page on phoenix.gov. 

Document sharing software added to Phoenix City Council agenda to efficiently provide DOJ with requested documents. 

Week of October 25

City launches Department of Justice Community Resources website at phoenix.gov/DOJ to answer frequently asked questions and provide a timeline of ongoing investigation.

Phoenix City Council approves contract for software to assist in the delivery of city documents to the DOJ.

PPD Liaison team gives presentation and answers community questions in meetings with Cactus Park Community Alliance and Coffee with a Cop in the Black Mountain Precinct.​

​Week of November 1

PPD Liaison Team and city staff meet with residents from community and neighborhood groups to discuss and answer questions about the investigation.

City meets with DOJ investigators for a debrief and status update on the investigation.​

Week of November 8

City staff and DOJ discussed status of document requests and city systems.​​​

Week of November 15

​City Staff completed the response to the September 9 request for documents from the Department of Justice by sharing over 53,000 documents.

Staff continues evaluation of software to streamline document sharing process with DOJ.

Week of November 29

DOJ attends virtual meeting with community stakeholders in the Desert Horizon Precinct.​

City staff are evaluating firms to provide outside legal counsel specific to DOJ investigation.

Members of the PPD Liaison Team meet with the Crisis Community Collaborative, answering questions regarding the DOJ Investigation.

City meets with staff from Minneapolis on the status of their DOJ investigation.

City conducts interviews with several law firms who submitted offers for outside counsel in the DOJ investigation.

Staff attends workshops and discussions surrounding those experiencing homelessness and constitutional policing under consent decrees with other entities

Staff attends a demonstration of the e-discovery tool to process documents for DOJ production.​​

​Week of December 6 & 13

City staff continue to meet to discuss logistics for providing access to  PPD systems to DOJ Investigators.   

​​Week of December 20 & 27

City staff provided the DOJ a virtual demonstration of the PPD's records management system.

City staff continue to meet to discuss logistics for providing access to PPD systems to DOJ Investigators.    

​​​​

January 2022​

​Week of January 3

City s​taff attends training for new e-discovery system to process documents for DOJ production. 

City staff meets with DOJ to discuss next steps in the investigation. 

​Staff continues evaluation of software systems for document sharing and demonstrations of systems with DOJ.​

Week of January 10

City Staff continue to train on ​City’s new e-discovery system to process documents for DOJ production.

City staff have four meetings with DOJ to demonstrate several City systems, and a meeting to discuss an agreement for access to City systems.

PPD Liaison Team to DOJ gives presentation to a north central business group. ​

Week of January 17

​Staff meets with contracted outside counsel team. 

Staff continues to discuss permissions access and the sharing of data systems with the DOJ. 

PPD Liaison Team gives virtual presentation to City Council District 3’s Community Meeting.​

Week of January 31

​DOJ participates in virtual tour of the Phoenix Police Department, focusing on policy development and training, including interviews and observation of recruit training classes. ​

Members of the PPD Liaison Team briefed Academy recruit class regarding DOJ classroom observation.

City staff and DOJ investigators debrief and plan for further virtual interviews and classroom observation.​



February 2022​

​Week of February 7​

C​ity staff presented information about the DOJ investigation at a Phoenix Community Alliance committee meeting.    

DOJ Investigators observe the Interactive Survival Training block of instruction for ​​​Academy Class #552     

Week of February 14

​DOJ continues virtual tour with further interviews and observation of recruit training class. ​

City receives second request for documents and information from DOJ including 133 items related to data systems, use of force/response to resistance, misconduct/discipline, homelessness and the Ballard Spahr investigations into the challenge coin and October 17 protest charges.

​ Week of February 21​

City Staff continue interviews with PPD and DOJ Investigators  

City staff meet with DOJ Investigators to discuss data and systems sharing. 

DOJ Investigators continue to virtually observe the PPD Recruit Academy class trainings.  
Week of February 28

City Staff and DOJ continue to discuss production of documents and sharing access to City data systems. 

DOJ Investigators virtually observe a recruit class on traffic stops​



March​ ​2022​

​Week of March 7

City staff prepare material to fulfill DOJ document request.​

City staff meet with DOJ to discuss first on-site visit.

Week of March 14

City staff attends Phoenix Police Asian American Advisory Board meeting to present information about DOJ investigation.

(see Community Briefings PowerPoint Presentation under Resources on main DOJ page) 

City staff continues to coordinate two proposed upcoming in person site visits by DOJ investigators and respond to document production requests.  

Week of March 21

City staff continues to coordinate two upcoming in person site visits by DOJ investigators.

City staff responds to DOJ’s document production requests.  

Week of March 28 

DOJ team visits a number of police precincts over a two-day period and conducts ride-a-longs in each of those precincts, as well as demonstrations and review of police technology and systems. 

City staff continues to respond to DOJ’s request for documents and databases.

City staff attend two-day conference regarding consent decrees.


April​ ​2022​

​Week of April​ 4

City staff discuss DOJ investigative findings in other jurisdictions.

City staff continues to make arrangements for the second in-person site visit by DOJ investigators and respond to systems and document requests.

Week of April 11

DOJ conducts virtual interview and receives a virtual homelessness program presentation from city staff
City staff  meet with DOJ investigators to plan for in-person visit and discuss sharing access to City data systems

City posts recruitment for an Assistant Chief candidate with DOJ knowledge and experience

​ Week of April 18

DOJ conducts virtual interviews with employees from Law and Police Departments.

City staff have a meeting with DOJ to discuss confidentiality and user agreements for access to City systems.

Week of April 25

​DOJ investigator team conducts second site visit. The team reviewed city services and response to people experiencing homelessness, First Amendment and protest practices, toured the Police Academy and observed classes, and conducted ride-a-longs with various squads and city departments.


May​ ​2022​

​Week of May 2

DOJ Investigators observe off-duty safety instruction for recruit class.

City staff and DOJ exchange emails to begin planning for the third in-person site visit and additional virtual interviews.

City staff respond to additional document requests from the site visits, and meet to debrief and plan.

Week of May 9

DOJ and city staff conduct several meetings to discuss further interviews for investigation and document production.

DOJ virtually observes recruit class instruction on crowd control formation and tactics.

City staff continue to debrief last visit, plan for the next DOJ in-person visit and review further documents for production.

​ Week of May 16

City staff present to DOJ on the Quality Assurance program at Phoenix.

DOJ cancels in person visit  scheduled for the following week due to illness.​

Week of May 23

City receives a new request from the DOJ. This third document request specifically relates to the City response to First Amendment protected activities as well as interaction with underaged residents.

City receives a follow up on the first and second production requests to clarify and make further requests for document production and information.

​ Week of May 30

No updates


June​ ​2022​

​Week of June 6

City staff continue to work on DOJ’s Third Request for document production.

City staff and DOJ discuss next in-person visit schedule and request for production regarding document formatting and email searches​.

Week of June 27

DOJ investigator team conducts third site visit. The team toured two precincts and conducted ride-a-longs and interviews of Neighborhood Enforcement Teams and Community Action Officers.

The City prepared and produced a general information update for City Council on the status of the DOJ investigation to date, which was published July 1. Read update here.

City staff received City Council approval for document review contracts to assist the city in producing documents for the investigation.

City staff continue to work on document and systems production and  preparing for the next on-site visit.​


July​ ​2022​

​Week of July 4

City staff meet with DOJ investigators to discuss July site visit, feedback from prior visit and production of documents.

City staff attended the Chief’s LGBTQ Advisory Board meeting to provide community members with an update on the status of the investigation.​

Week of July 11 

DOJ conducts virtual interview and met with City staff to discuss document production.

The PPD Liaison Team attended the Faith Based Advisory Board meeting.​

Week of July 18

DOJ in person visit conducting interviews with Police personnel regarding Community Resources and Tactical Response Units.

Week of July 25 

City staff meets with DOJ investigators regarding document production. 

City staff meet with technology consultant for evaluation of new RMS system.​




August 2022​

​Week of August 1​

City staff meets virtually with DOJ investigators to discuss requirements for the third request for documents and information.​

City staff presented supplemental materials to DOJ investigators related to performance measures.

Week of August 8​

Staff completed production for DOJ’s second request for documents and information and met virtually with DOJ to discuss the third request for documents.​

DOJ interviewed staff regarding City programs and approach to behavioral health disabilities.

Week of August 15

City staff continues working on production of requested files and information to fulfill  DOJ’s third request for documents.

City staff prepares for DOJ visit the week of August 23rd.​

Week of August 22

DOJ completes 5th site visit including ride-a-longs and interviews related to the focus areas of people with disabilities and individuals experiencing homelessness.

DOJ attends community meeting at the Maryvale-Estrella Mountain Precinct.​


Week of August 29

Staff met online with DOJ to discuss technical and systems matters.

Staff continued to compile information for presentations to DOJ in September.


September 2022​

​Week of September 5​

City staff met virtually with the DOJ to discuss the status of the investigation.

 

City staff continue to work on virtual presentations to give to DOJ in September regarding City’s Professional Standards Bureau, Compliance and Oversight Bureau, Discipline Review Board, Tactical Support Bureau, Training Review Committee,  Driving Analysis Committee, Critical Incident Review Board and City Auditor.

Week of September 12
City staff gives overview to the DOJ team of the Professional Standards Bureau, Disciplinary Review Board processes and  the Compliance and Oversight Bureau’s roles and function.

City staff receives the DOJ’s fourth request for documents with a focus on Behavioral Health Response and Crisis System.

City staff, including Chief Williams, meets with Interim Chief Sullivan to provide background and status of DOJ investigation.


Week of September 19

Members of the Training Review Committee, Driving Analysis Committee and the Critical Incident Review Board presented to DOJ investigators their role and function.

City Auditor staff provided a presentation to DOJ staff of the auditor functions

City Staff met to review and outline the fourth DOJ request for documentation

 ​

City staff presented the results of a Crisis Intervention Review Committee pilot to Executive Staff and received feedback regarding how to improve the committee process going forward



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