Phoenix police to record when officers point their guns; some experts skeptical

PHOENIX (AP/FOX 10) - The Phoenix Police Department says it will track when officers point their guns at people.

The department announced Friday the policy recommended by the Community Police Trust Initiative and the National Police Foundation, which studied last year's police shootings in the city.

"This isn't the first time it's been tried," said use of force expert Lon Bartel. The retired Valley police officer is skeptical of the new policy.

"My former agency back 20 years ago, that was something we did because we saw a lack of benefit in it," said Bartel.

Police Sgt. Vince Lewis says the policy aims to help record the number of times officers are successful in deescalating encounters. Officers will document each time they point their service weapons at people while on the job. Chicago recently enacted a similar policy after a Justice Department report criticized the city's police department for racial bias and excessive force.

Other than logging the instances of guns being pointed at a person, experts say the benefits and drawbacks of the policy have not been proven.

"Does it cause more issues or less? What happens when we have an increase in line of duty deaths because officers were hesitant to pull Thierry guns when they should have?" said Bartel.

The policy will go into effect August 19, following mandatory training.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.