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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

August 2021 

Week of Aug 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 Aug 9

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

Week of Aug 16

DOJ discusses records retention with city.

Week of Aug 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 Aug 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.


September 2021

​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.


October 2021

​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.​


November 2021

​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.​​


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