Council, Chief, Town Manager Take Steps To Move Forward

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The statement I read at the May 22 council meeting was crafted during a lengthy meeting with Town Manager Fred Carpenter and Police Chief Gordy Gartner, and there are action items for each of us.

I recognize that much has made publicly about my disagreements with the police department. This has become an extremely contentious issue that has created unintended and harmful distractions from our mission of serving the public.

At the meeting, I announced a series of steps that I believe will allow us to move forward in a positive way.

(1) Chief Gartner has initiated the process of submitting all investigative reports regarding the issue of the disclosed search warrant to Arizona POST, the police officer certifying agency, to review the conduct of all officers involved.

(2) There are lingering concerns in the community regarding the working relationships between our law enforcement agencies. Chief Gartner has initiated an effort to improve those relations and will work diligently to achieve that goal as soon as possible.

(3) There is interest on the part of many to examine some operating policies of the police department. Chief Gartner and town manager Fred Carpenter view this as an opportunity to share and exchange information about those policies with the council (and the public when appropriate) and make adjustments as needed.

As a result of these commitments, I announced at the meeting that I am withdrawing my request for an external audit of the Payson Police Department. I believe we have a well-respected, professional police department, and I support and appreciate their efforts within the department and in the community at large.

Chief Gartner signed the statement, saying: "Robert, Thanks for the support. Chief Gartner." The town manager signed it, stating: "I will be happy to work toward the solutions envisioned in this memo. Fred Carpenter."

There is commitment from each of us to see these action items are completed.

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