The new police chief of Phoenix has five things he wants his police department and citizens to adopt in order to make Phoenix a better place to live.
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia was welcomed by approximately 75 community members at the Alwun House Arts and Cultural Center on Thursday where he discussed his commitment to his community-based plan: policing with a purpose.
Policing with a purpose, Garcia said, is a plan that involves five principles: Nurture and protect democracy, give justice to everybody, exhibit a spirit of service to everyone, show fundamental fairness and protect people from harm.
“I want my police officers to clearly understand it and adopt it, and I want the citizens to clearly adopt it,” Garcia said. “These five principles are the biggest thing, and that’s what I want the community to understand.”
Phoenix community advocate Stephanie Washington said she was concerned because officers in the past were not helpful and did not make her feel welcome when she called about someone breaking into her home.
“There is prejudice down here, mainly Hispanic women and kids,” Washington said. “But it is harassment, and the police officers don’t make you feel welcome.”
When officers answer calls for service, citizens have to feel like the police department is there for them and hear what they’re saying in order to solve the problem, Garcia said.
Although the five principles work for the Police Department, they also work for Senate Bill 1070 and any other issues that may arise, Garcia said.
“The entire United States is looking at Phoenix, Arizona, and they’re going to see how we react to the Supreme Court decision, so policing in this city will be with justice, it will be with mercy and it will be fair,” Garcia said.
Garcia is the new face of the Phoenix Police Department, and there are 3,377 officers behind him that will all be involved with to the complete-policing plan. Garcia said he has tremendous confidence in all officers involved.
Community members seemed in favor of Garcia’s policing-for-a-purpose plan and the five principles it involves.
“I think the five principles are good and, I really think he’s sincere, and I truly believe he will seek change for downtown districts,” Washington said. “I want to see change.”
People were also impressed that Garcia came to the Alwun House to discuss his plan for the community.
“I think it’s very good he comes to the community and meets with community leaders,” said Walt Gray, a 74-year-old retired state employee from west Phoenix. “It’s good he comes here to tell us the vision for the Phoenix Police Department and also let us ask questions.”
Garcia said the Neighborhoods Service Division picked to have the community meeting at Alwun House.
“They couldn’t have picked a better place,” he said. “This place is outstanding!”
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