APD chief: New direction starts with accountability

Created: 04/03/2014 10:18 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Next week a new deputy chief tasked with keeping officers in check will start work at APD.

The 4th deputy chief for the department will be directly responsible for making sure all Department of Justice recommendations are followed -- but that's just the beginning of the job description.

On Thursday, chief Gorden Eden sat down with KOB Eyewitness News 4 to talk about that new position, and the difference it could make.

"There are things I can do right now, and those are the things I'm focused on," said Eden.

When it comes to turning the tide, Eden said the focus should be accountability.

"We build that trust and we just make that trust stronger and stronger every day," he said.

Eden said the work has already begun.

"I want to put together a very robust employee monitoring system," he said.

That system starts with a new deputy chief for the department -- a person Eden said Thursday will oversee every single step of an officer's career with APD.

"From when a person puts in their application, they go through the hiring process, they go through the training process, the field training officer program and then their out on their own as a police officer," said Eden.

Then there will be follow-through.

The new chief who starts next week, will also oversee the department's behavioral science unit -- the APD arm that counsels and evaluates officers after they're involved in use of force.

"Professional accountability," he said. "That's why it's important, cause I have one person dedicated to just that."

Accountability, he said, for the bad and the good things officers do -- it's something Eden said can build a strong house.

"Those are the things that establish our foundation," he said.

As for distractions -- like the lingering possibility of a full DOJ take-over -- Eden said he is keeping those worries out of his mind for now.

"I actually don't have any feelings about that, and I don't mean that in an arrogant way at all," said Eden. "My focus right now is to keep this department moving forward and making those necessary changes."

Eden's 4th deputy chief won't be limited to monitoring officers -- but also APD employees in other roles.     

Eden said he hopes to have the new leader in place by Tuesday of next week.

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