After an intense interview and a vote among leaders of 23 police associations in Arizona the Arizona Police Association (APA) has chosen to endorse Greg Stanton for Phoenix mayor.
"It was probably the toughest interview I've had through this mayoral campaign," Stanton said. "They don't give away this endorsement lightly. The next mayor of Phoenix is not just important to the city. It really is important statewide. A lot of the public safety policies adopted in Phoenix have statewide importance. They want to make sure that they are supporting the right person."
APA represents 23 departments statewide of rank and file police officers. Their endorsement process is very thorough. They inspect each candidate, question them for two to three hours and only then do they allow the candidates to present their ideas to the board. After this extreme vetting process the board members, individual directors from each department, vote for the candidate they feel is best. The local association, the Phoenix Police Department in this case, is not allowed to take part in the voting. This way the public is getting a truly unbiased opinion of who the APA believes is the best candidate for mayor.
"What we found is an independent nature," said Brian Livingston, executive director of the APA. "Somebody who believes in coalition building. Somebody who wants to hear all sides. He doesn't want to follow a particular ideology. He doesn't want to follow a particular party platform. He votes what he believes is best for the city and then he adds his personal belief system to it. We firmly believe that is the best choice for mayor."
Stanton said he is humbled to be chosen by the APA. He says he believes he was chosen because his record shows he has always been a firm believer in local officers.
"My record is one which I always treated the men and women in law enforcement professionally with respect," Stanton said. "You want to make sure they have the resources and support to do their job and, essentially, let them do their job. You don't want a leader of the city who micro-manages the police. You want a leader of the city that trusts and respects the officers on the street."
Stanton said he believes the best type of policing is decentralized policing with more officers on the beat doing day patrols. He is a firm supporter of community-based policing. He also believes the way he works cooperatively with neighborhood associations will be important to local officers.
Livingston said what impressed the board the most about Stanton was the way he communicated with the community.
"He reached out to community leaders first," Livingston said. "Those community leaders and groups are what drive a police department's policies and procedures. Second, he went to the business community. He talked to them about how to improve the business environment in the city of Phoenix. That's also really important for us because the tax dollars those businesses generate brings the equipment that we need to protect our officers. Then he went to the employee associations. He talked to the employees about what they need in order to perform their job properly, correctly and efficiently. That was a proper method of operation in our minds."
Stanton is running against five other candidates in the Aug. 30 election.
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