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New community conversation series

Community members are invited to move forward alongside the City of Tempe by attending the first in a yearlong series of productive conversations about policing and other areas of concern.

These “Tempe Listens” conversations will be kicked off on Tuesday, March 3, at 6 p.m. at Tempe Church of Christ, 2424 S. Mill Ave.

Valley resident and Pastor Andre Miller, of New Beginnings Christian Church in Mesa, will serve as the facilitator for the forum.

Interpreters and CART services will be available at the event for Spanish-speaking and hard of hearing community members.

On Jan. 31, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced that it would not criminally charge former Tempe Officer Joseph Jaen in the shooting death of 14-year-old Antonio Arce. On that day, Tempe Police also released its administrative investigation, including the conclusion that Jaen violated department and city policies in the incident that occurred on Jan. 15, 2019.

During this first conversation on March 3, Mayor Mark Mitchell, City Manager Andrew Ching and Police Chief Sylvia Moir will serve as panelists. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions, comments and ideas related to policing and Police Department practices and policies.

“Our sincere hope with this effort is to open up a candid, mindful dialogue that can lead to increased trust, understanding and respect between Tempe and the community we serve,” Mitchell said. “I look forward to hearing our residents’ ideas for how we can move forward together.”

Key stakeholders are being invited, including members of the Tempe History Museum’s African American Advisory Committee, Poder in Action, the Tempe Human Relations Commission, Black Lives Matter, the Tempe Neighborhood Advisory Commission, the Tempe Commission on Disability Concerns, the Tempe Family Justice Commission and more.

The Arce family has filed a lawsuit against the City of Tempe, which will prevent city panelists from answering specific questions related to the Arce matter.

The City of Tempe intends to host several conversations at various community locations. Future Tempe Listens sessions will explore other issues, as guided by what residents want.

Details about those events will be announced as they are available.

The City of Tempe is also participating in a national effort from the National League of Cities (NLC) to examine response to incidents involving racial tension. Led by experts from the NLC’s Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative, Tempe is working alongside five other cities across the country to examine their responses to critical incidents and make improvements for the future.

For questions about the March 3 forum, contact the Tempe Office of Strategic Management and Diversity at 480-350-8979.

Media contact: Nikki Ripley, City of Tempe, 480-350-8846