The Town of Fountain Hills and our law enforcement agency, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, were stunned and saddened by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police while in their custody. This shocking and tragic event has started a national conversation that is long overdue, one which we intend to have here in our hometown.
MCSO and the Town have a duty to ensure that all individuals can practice freedom of speech and their right to assemble. While law enforcement is fully prepared to address any issues that arise from unlawful acts that may occur, they are deeply committed to the safety and security of all who participate in peaceful protests or gatherings.
One such gathering was planned by Together We Care, a student-led group of Fountain Hills activists and allies calling for justice who wish to extend a hand of solidarity and support to the Black community, and let them know they are seen and valued, and that every voice deserves to be heard. The purpose of their march was to uplift those who have historically been silenced.
However, they themselves were silenced when their safety was jeopardized, forcing them to make the decision to postpone and regroup.
The Town is planning to organize a community meeting… when we are cleared to gather… with a panel that is representative of different experiences and participation from all our neighbors.
MCSO remains committed to providing professional and courteous law enforcement services to the public in a fair and equitable manner, continually striving to garner trust and confidence through good policing, transparency and community outreach. In order to achieve this, MCSO:
- Conducts an annual review of all its enforcement policies, including the Use of Force policy, which is published on the MCSO Website;
- Has a strict policy requiring immediate reporting of observed or identified employee misconduct by other employees;
- Implemented a critical policy preventing racial and bias-based profiling, which is strictly enforced;
- Has a comprehensive policy for accepting, processing, and investigating complaints of employee misconduct, all findings published on the Website;
- Issued Body-Worn Cameras to all patrol personnel, requiring all contacts with the public to be captured on camera and
- Created a Bureau of Internal Oversight Unit to conduct regular, random, and targeted audits and inspections on many of its patrol-related functions, published on the Website.
Given what MCSO has already accomplished, we were able to sign on to the Mayor’s Pledge with My Brother’s Keeper Alliance outlining steps for even more improvement, in full consultation with the Sheriff’s Office.
These steps include:
- REVIEW your police use of force policies.
- ENGAGE your communities by including a diverse range of input and experiences in your review.
- REPORT the findings of your review to your community and seek feedback.
- REFORM your community’s police use of force policies.
Sheriff Penzone is working with the Town to create a FAQ section on the Website to serve local residents and businesses. In addition, due to the large number of inquiries about the Town’s role in allowing Constitutionally protected activities, particularly in light of COVID-19, our Attorney will post answers to questions related to gatherings.
The Town’s Website is www.fh.az.gov. This is also where the public can enroll in CodeRED, an emergency notification system informing through phone calls, texts and emails urgent situations that may affect them.
MCSO’s non-emergency contact is 602-876-1011, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To report a concern, call 602-876-TIPS (8477) or go to https://www.mcso.org/Home/SendUsATip.
Always call 911 in an emergency.
In the spirit of healing, MCSO and the Town of Fountain Hills are committed to respectful service toward all, a future with better understanding, and unity.
Mayor Ginny Dickey, Sheriff Paul Penzone, and Town Manager Grady Miller