The Phoenix City Council has approved a plan for civilian police oversight, including investigative powers, after months of contentious debate.
By a 5-4 vote, the council approved the "Office of Accountability and Transparency" proposal championed by Councilmember Carlos Garcia. OAT will become a new city department, separate from the police department, which will include both a community review board and a unit dedicated to monitoring and investigating police complaints.
The vote came after a heated public comment period at Tuesday night's meeting, ABC15 reports.
Phoenix police unions spoke out against the concept of the Civilian Oversight Board over the past year and said they are still skeptical about the board’s power and potential agenda.
"You never buy the first model of a car, right? Something always goes wrong and there’s always something to work out," said Britt London, President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.
Other conservative-leaning members of the council also expressed their vote to reject both boards and framed the debate as being pro or anti law enforcement.
"To the officers, I know you got an extremely tough job. I, personally, don't want to add to your burdens, which I think this will today," said Councilman Jim Waring.