City Manager Jeff Barton has named Roger Smith as the city’s first Director of the Office of Accountability and Transparency (OAT).
The Phoenix City Council first approved the new office last year, finalizing the specific duties of the office in June. This includes monitoring or investigating members of the Phoenix Police Department and ensuring complaints against officers are handled fairly and objectively.
The new office may also provide recommendations for training, policy, and disciplinary actions.
“The Office of Accountability and Transparency is a first for Phoenix, and it is an important milestone,” said Mayor Kate Gallego. “Our goal is to use data, mediation, and transparency to rebuild trust between the police department and the community. We are very fortunate to have found a person who has deep experience in this work. I look forward to working with OAT Director Roger Smith as we forge a transparent, inclusive path forward.”
Smith brings to the role extensive experience investigating complaints of misconduct against police employees. He currently leads the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) for the city of Cleveland. This office investigates 200-300 allegations of misconduct against Cleveland police officers annually.
Under his direction, the OPS works directly with the Department of Justice on dozens of provisions in the City’s consent decree with the Department of Justice.
Prior to his work with Cleveland, Smith worked in New York City including nine years as Counsel for the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.
“The community was clear in its feedback that we needed to hire a person who is trustworthy, honest, independent and objective. Roger has proven himself as someone with these important attributes,” said Barton. “We are confident he has the right education, experience and character to build trust in our community and build a foundation for success with this new office.”
“My work in leadership positions with civilian oversight in two cities with large police forces has prepared me for the unique challenge to introduce this type of work in Phoenix,” Smith said. “I am confident as we lay the foundation for this new office with feedback from all stakeholders throughout the community, we can create a stronger city for everyone.”
As a University of Southern California Law School graduate, Smith previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney and as an agency attorney for the New York City Department of Corrections. He also has a B.A. in History and M.A. in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.
He begins his new role on December 6.