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  • The BIG Chief is outta here.

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...igned-brk.html

    Embattled Phoenix Public Safety Manager Jack Harris has retired after being sidelined in his job as police chief and facing constant fire from critics.

    Harris submitted notice of his retirement in a terse one-sentence memo to Assistant City Manager Ed Zuercher on Friday morning.

    Harris and top officials at City Hall refused to discuss the timing of his departure, although it had been rumored in recent weeks that Harris' exit was imminent. Mayor Phil Gordon said he regretted the retirement, calling it a lamentable result of "vindictive" political maneuvering.

    City officials said they will likely launch a national search for Harris' replacement, although the timing was still unclear.

    Harris was removed from direct authority over the Police Department on March 3, after six years at its helm, and was reassigned to focus on city emergency management and the emergency-operations center. Assistant Chief Joe Yahner became acting police chief.

    Harris' reassignment came amid a controversy over crime statistics that the department used to get a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fight kidnappings and home invasions.

    Some within the Police Department had questioned the numbers that were used to justify the grant. Mark Spencer, head of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, or PLEA, had even suggested that Harris and others had been involved in inflating the numbers.

    Also, in the past year, Harris and the department have been embroiled in a series of high-profile troubles, including an altercation between a city councilman and an officer; a shake-up in the South Mountain Precinct; an officer being accused of murder after shooting an unarmed domestic-violence suspect; the indictment of four officers in a fraud case; and the mysterious death of an on-duty police sergeant.

    Harris' position in the city had become highly politicized, with elected officials alternately pressuring City Manager David Cavazos to remove or keep Harris as chief. Shortly after Harris was removed from managing the Police Department last month, City Council members accused each other of violating a city-charter provision that prohibits elected officials from directing the city manager or his subordinates to fire anyone.

    Councilwoman Thelda Williams, who advocated Harris' removal from his top Police Department position, said Harris "made this mess for himself."

    Williams said Harris could have done a better job confronting controversy within the department.
    "It has just been one thing after another, and he just didn't deal with it," Williams said. "It just all piled up until it became one huge problem."

    But Councilman Michael Johnson, who has been a strong supporter of Harris, sees it differently.

    "It's very disappointing that any employee who has dedicated over 30 years of his life and career to the Police Department is treated in such a fashion and has to leave," Johnson said. "I am surprised by the chief's decision, but I do understand the scrutiny and pressure that's been placed upon him."

    Johnson said he believes the controversy surrounding Harris was due to the former chief's opposition to Senate Bill 1070, a disputed immigration measure, and the police union's attacks on Harris.

    Harris enjoyed the mayor's strong support. "I've known Jack Harris for nearly 20 years, and I've never seen him falter in his commitment to excellence and integrity," Gordon said.

    "While I'm enormously proud of the man I've long called 'my chief,' I feel deep disappointment about this unfitting ending to a remarkable career. Jack Harris, like the Phoenix Police Department, has been stained and smeared by a vocal, vindictive few in pursuit of their own political and personal gain. I stand by Jack Harris today as I have every day in my time as mayor."

    Zuercher, the assistant city manager, tried to put a more positive emphasis on Harris' departure.

    "Jack Harris served the residents of Phoenix for more than 39 years, starting as a patrol officer and working in many different areas of the Police Department before becoming chief in 2004," Zuercher said.

    "While he served as chief and public-safety manager, the Police Department became recognized nationally as a leader in community-based policing. Crime rates are at an all-time low, to a great extent because of Jack's focus on getting the worst criminals off the street. Phoenix residents should be proud of their excellent police department. We wish Jack well in his retirement."

    Although Harris had been the target of attacks from the police union, PLEA Treasurer Joe Clure on Friday said, "As far as Chief Harris' nearly 40 years' service to the community, it was obviously commendable. We wish him the best."

    Harris' comrades in the Police Department were similarly complimentary.

    Assistant Chief Andy Anderson put Harris "at the top of the list" of the "many honorable men and women" he'd worked with in the department. Acting Police Chief Joe Yahner said Harris was "professional, dedicated and always kept the best interests of the community and the safety of officers in the forefront."

    Williams, Johnson and council members Peggy Neely and Sal DiCiccio want a national search to select the next police chief for the nation's sixth-largest city. All advocate eliminating the public-safety-manager position and going back to having just a chief of police.

    The role of public-safety manager was created for Harris in 2007, when he retired as the city's chief of police and accepted the new, broader post two weeks later. The public-safety manager's job combined the duties of the police chief with oversight of homeland-security issues.

    For years, PLEA and others blasted Harris for "double dipping," or drawing pension benefits while receiving a regular salary.

    Zuercher said the city will reassess the structure of the safety-manager and police-chief positions before finding a replacement.

    Typically, the city conducts nationwide searches to fill high-profile positions, Zuercher said. It will be up to Cavazos to set up a timeline and a process.

    Yahner will remain acting chief until a replacement is selected.

    Harris' retirement could still prove controversial, as he will soon be drawing two pension payments: checks that he already receives from the state Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and additional payments from the City of Phoenix Employees Retirement System. He will receive the latter payments in about a year, when he turns 62.

    Harris was unavailable for comment Friday.
    NRA Life Member

    The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. - Sir Robert Peel

    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. - H. L. Mencken

  • #2


    And, Good Riddance........................
    Last edited by las999; 04-16-2011, 04:02 PM.

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    • #3
      Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more no more no more no more...

      Comment


      • #4
        Good Riddance

        Comment


        • #5
          He'll probably show up in New York. I hope it's not California.
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DAL View Post
            He'll probably show up in New York. I hope it's not California.
            I highly doubt it will be NY. They like chiefs who fight crime, not run away from it w/sensitivity training. CA is better suited for him.
            Last edited by Raggy; 04-18-2011, 11:41 AM. Reason: typo

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Raggy View Post
              I highly doubt it will be NY. They like chiefs who fight crime, not run away from it w/sensitivity training. CA is better suited for him.
              I heard that NY likes chiefs who manipulate crime statistics.

              Fighting crime is fashionable in most of California.
              Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
              Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Raggy View Post
                I highly doubt it will be NY. They like chiefs who fight crime, not run away from it w/sensitivity training. CA is better suited for him.
                No CA isn't better suited for him. Believe it or not Raggy, there are those of us who lateraled from the far west who are just as disappointed about the way business is conducted in AZ.

                Harris is best suited for the midwest, where most of the AZ LE a**hats came from (ala-Dan Hughes).
                Last edited by las999; 04-18-2011, 03:39 PM.

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                • #9
                  nO LOSS TO ME!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by las999 View Post
                    No CA isn't better suited for him. Believe it or not Raggy, there are those of us who lateraled from the far west who are just as disappointed about the way business is conducted in AZ.

                    Harris is best suited for the midwest, where most of the AZ LE a**hats came from (ala-Dan Hughes).
                    My bad. The only thing I really know about CA policing (aside from the former LAPD heydays), is what my DPS buddies tell me. It seems their boss (director or colonel?) is trying to model DPS after the CHP. I'm not sure if that is good or bad? I've never heard anything bad about about CHP. They seem to be a pretty squared away agency, but in a 'wild west' state like AZ, I would figure he would try to model the DPS after a tough SW (TX, NM, GA) highway patrol or like a state police back east. Again, not a knock on CHP, but I've never heard of them as tough as nails agency-could be wrong though?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      AS PR minded as Phx is, Harris should go work for an advertising agency. Historically, Phx never was a "tough" PD.......

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hemicop View Post
                        AS PR minded as Phx is, Harris should go work for an advertising agency. Historically, Phx never was a "tough" PD.......
                        what about the old deuce era guys ...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Raggy View Post
                          I highly doubt it will be NY. They like chiefs who fight crime, not run away from it w/sensitivity training. CA is better suited for him.
                          Bernie Kerik was a great cop. Pretty good chief. Model prisoner.
                          "Did that hurt? It looked like it hurt"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MG108 View Post
                            Bernie Kerik was a great cop. Pretty good chief. Model prisoner.
                            Are you kidding me? You name a retired NYPD commish in jail for tax evasion, years after he was done with NYPD? He was nominated for Director of Homeland Security (same position your hero "Nappy" currently holds) when all this began to unfold. If NYPD chiefs are so weak towards crime, I suggest you brush up on Bill Bratton. Bratton was hired as chief for LAPD after he left NYPD. What's your next example, an NYPD officer arrested for boot legging whiskey during Prohibition?

                            I do have to ask, what's the point of your post?
                            Last edited by Raggy; 04-20-2011, 10:03 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Raggy View Post
                              I highly doubt it will be NY. They like chiefs who fight crime, not run away from it w/sensitivity training. CA is better suited for him.

                              Actually, SoCal is very proactive when it comes to police work. BTW, I don't think too many people were impressed with Bratton when he was in LA. At least that was my impression.

                              Comment

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