The Pima County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday announced a three-tiered law enforcement reform plan that will emphasize accountability, community engagement and transparency.
The ACT reform plan will take effect around mid-August, according to Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier.
To better inform the public about Pima County’s law enforcement policies, personnel and actions, a community accountability section will be added to the department’s website.
“On the community accountability page will be major policies at the Pima County Sheriff’s Department that you’ll be able to review in their entirety,” Napier said.
Information will include: a synopsis of in-custody deaths and use-of-force incidents, disciplinary reviews of law enforcement personnel, budgeting decisions, and demographic information about officers and jail inmates.
A citizen review panel will also be created to work with the Sheriff’s Citizen Advisory Council and will participate in executive reviews of disciplinary issues and significant use-of-force issues.
Napier said the sheriff’s department will also request additional funds from the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the county administrator to hire community engagement specialists.
Qualifications for community engagement specialists will include an undergraduate degree in sociology, social work or psychology in order to respond to incidents not requiring the presence of an armed officer.
“We’re going to have community engagement specialists that are going to have specific training and specific education to go out and handle these calls that are much better handled at a community level than a law enforcement level,” Napier said.
Such instances would include calls related to mental health, substance abuse or homelessness-related issues, according to Napier.
Additionally, the department is also set to review all major policies, including those regarding use-of-force tactics.
“We’re going to look at that to make sure that it’s better meeting the needs of the community,” Napier said.
The department will also implement a duty to intervene policy to prevent instances such as those that led to the in-custody death of George Floyd.
Regarding neck holds, Napier said the Pima County Sheriff’s Office would examine and revise its policy, which currently permits personnel to utilize controversial techniques such as carotid control restraint in extreme circumstances when deadly force is deemed necessary.
The Phoenix Police Department announced on June 9 that its officers would no longer be permitted to use the controversial neck hold.
Click here to learn more about the reform plan.