Phoenix Police Officer Donated Lifesaving Kidney to Ten-Year-Old Girl

Phoenix Police Officer Donated Lifesaving Kidney to Ten-Year-Old Girl

By Corinne Murdock |

Two years ago, Phoenix Police Officer Jackie Ravelo gave one of her kidneys to her friend’s ten-year-old daughter, Lily Rios — a lifesaving measure Ravelo says she didn’t think twice about. Ravelo and Rios were only able to meet recently because of COVID-19. 

“As a parent, you know, I have three daughters. And you kind of put their face to that. I can’t imagine the pain that Becky felt, and you know wanting to make things better or do something that can help her — and not being able to, that’s heartbreaking for me,” said Ravelo. “I can speak for all officers that you want to help everybody, you want to solve problems and sometimes you can’t, so to me it was simple — how could I not do this?”

Rios suffered from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), sometimes called “focal glomerular sclerosis” or “focal nodular glomerulosclerosis,” in which scar tissue develops on the parts of kidneys that filter waste from the blood. FSGS may be caused by a variety of conditions and can lead to kidney failure; according to Kopp, her daughter’s case was aggressive and unresponsive to treatments. 

Rios and Ravelo spent part of the day together, with Ravelo seating Rios inside her cop car and talking to her about her life since the surgery. Rios has been able to live a normal life since receiving Ravelo’s kidney.

“Being next to someone that almost saved my life, I start to think about how thankful I am,” said Rios.

Ravelo knew of the girl’s mom, Becky Kopp, through a recreational softball league. Kopp expressed gratitude for Ravelo’s selflessness.

“To Jackie: the gift that you gave my daughter is — I can’t express how meaningful it is, and how amazing it is, and how priceless it is. As a mother to a mother, you saved my baby,” said Kopp. 

Ravelo had seen Kopp’s Facebook post after a kidney intended for her daughter was no longer a viable option. She explained that she posted to explain what was happening — it wasn’t meant to be a call to action. However, that’s how Ravelo took it.

At exactly midnight last night, I got the call that a kidney was available for Lily. We rushed to PCH and were directly admitted. Her labs were drawn and she went to sleep. I didn’t. I couldn’t. The doctors just came in to let us know that the kidney looked great last night but has deteriorated and is no longer viable. We are being discharged. Yes, this sucks. Yes, it’s devastating to be so close yet so far away. But we are going to focus on the positives from the last 11 hours… we now know the process. I know what to do and what to expect the next time I get the call. Lily is at the top of the list. The fact that she has only been on the list for 13 days and is already getting called means we are very close. Lily is strong and healthy and ready for surgery. We will remain positive and hope for the next one. Please say a prayer for the donor. We may have lost the opportunity at this kidney but that person lost their life.”

Kopp posted an update on her daughter’s “kidneyversary.” According to Kopp, her daughter has been doing well ever since.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Phoenix Police May Not Respond to Certain Calls Due to Officer Shortage

Phoenix Police May Not Respond to Certain Calls Due to Officer Shortage

By Corinne Murdock |

Phoenix Police Department (PPD) leadership informed city council that they may have to stop responding to certain 911 calls due to their shortage of police officers. PPD Chief Jeri Williams shared with the Public Safety and Justice Subcommittee at the start of this month that they haven’t made such a policy official yet, but may have to in order to offset the workload created by 370 vacancies. 

They had 27 recruits going through academy and 31 officers-in-training. PPD has 2,755 total officers. The fifth-largest city in the nation had over 1.6 million people according to the 2020 census — approximately 17 officers per 10,000 residents. 

The proposal was based on a study from Arizona State University (ASU). The university identified eleven call types: intrusion alarms, assisting fire departments with unruly patients, drug overdoses, loose animals, public marijuana smoking, civil matter stand-bys, abandoned vehicles, found property, minor vehicle crashes without injuries, illegal parking, and noise complaints. Williams suggested that the last six call types could be mitigated by civilian members or assistants and not PPD, and that public marijuna smoking calls were nullified with the legalization of marijuana. 

Williams suggested that eliminating police response to intrusion or false alarms, fire department assistance and/or check welfare calls, drug overdoses, and loose animals wouldn’t be good for public safety. PPD recorded 60,000 welfare calls and 552 drug overdose calls. 

Civil matter stand-by calls have to do with incidents like exchanges of children, roommate relationships, and merchant or customer relations. Williams reported that PPD received about 14,000 of civil matter stand-by calls annually, 10,000 abandoned vehicle calls, 3,200 found property calls, 26,000 minor vehicle accidents without injury calls, 10,000 minor vehicle hit-and-run, 6,200 illegal parking calls, and 14,000 noise complaint calls. 

Overall, Williams reported that PPD received 2 million calls in 2020 with 660,000 of those dispatched, and 1.8 million calls in 2021 with about 614,000 of those dispatched. 

“This is just preliminary information that we’re going through. We didn’t want you all or members of the public to be surprised by the types of calls we’re looking at. We’ve made no decisions on these whatsoever, we’re really just trying to introduce the topic and idea,” explained Williams. 

The second adjustment was PPD’s new “deferred patrol response” program where officers come into the station and work overtime by assisting with calls, taking reports, and handling paperwork. 

The third adjustment was changes to PPD’s dispatch protocol concerned changes to dispatch protocols.

In all, Williams touched on six different improvement efforts: in addition to call type reduction, deferred patrol response, and dispatch protocol changes, PPD has undertaken programs implementing civilianization, body worn cameras for all officers, and specialty back to patrol. PPD also introduced efforts to increase officer retention and morale, such as raises.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Police Chief: We Will No Longer Honor Officers Who Die Off-Duty With Formal Funerals

Police Chief: We Will No Longer Honor Officers Who Die Off-Duty With Formal Funerals

By Corinne Murdock |

Phoenix Police Department Chief Jeri Williams determined that police who die off-duty won’t have formal funeral arrangements. The police chief issued the policy announcement through a memo letter to city staff on Monday.

Phoenix City Council member Sal DiCiccio criticized the policy last week, days prior to Williams issuing the memo.

“DISTURBING: Chief Williams has really lost her way with the rank and file to placate the crazy anti-police crowd,” wrote DiCiccio. “We were notified early this morning that funerals for our brave police officers who die on duty are treated differently than those that are off duty. Seriously?”

https://twitter.com/Sal_DiCiccio/status/1431290208029274114

DiCiccio told AZ Free News that this latest decision was yet another mistreatment of officers.

“What Phoenix is doing is BS. We have rising crime rates, can’t patrol our streets effectively – all because we don’t have enough cops – and Phoenix politicians are making it worse by constantly attacking Phoenix PD. They don’t even want to honor them with a proper funeral. It’s absurd,” stated DiCiccio.

The memo is reproduced in its entirety below:

The following memo addresses recent concerns related to notification of Police non-line of duty deaths. Based on research conducted by the Phoenix Police Department it has been determined that no written policy exists regarding non-line of duty death notifications. Instead, it has been the department’s longstanding practice to only formally notify City Council and City Management of line-of-duty deaths. Non-line of duty death notifications have been much less formal and not consistent. Therefore, I am establishing a formal written process from this point forward to ensure that information is provided consistently to all members of management and elected leadership for both line of duty and non-line of duty deaths and funeral services.

To effectively address the concerns referenced above, I am instructing the City Manager Liaison (Commander) to notify the Mayor, City Councilmembers, City Manager, and Assistant City Manager upon learning of a current police employee’s death.

Line of Duty Death: Line of Duty deaths have very formal programs for involvement of Police and City leadership. The City Manager Liaison will work with the Police Department’s Employee Assistance Unit (EAU) and provide funeral arrangement notification to the Mayor, City Councilmembers, and City management for Line of Duty deaths of current police employees as soon as possible. This will include funeral and viewing information, dignitary seating, and logistics notifications.

Non-Line of Duty Deaths: The Police Department’s Employee Assistance Unit often assists with Non-Line of Duty deaths of current police employees. Once advised by EAU, the City Manager will notify the Mayor, City Councilmembers, and City management of the non-line of duty death. Recognizing that each funeral service is different, the Department will make every attempt to support the wishes of a deceased employee’s family for public involvement in the funeral services.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Phoenix Police To Be Punished For Pressing Gang Charges Against BLM Protestors

Phoenix Police To Be Punished For Pressing Gang Charges Against BLM Protestors

By Corinne Murdock |

The city of Phoenix announced last week it will punish Phoenix Police Department (PPD) officers for giving Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters criminal street gang charges. This latest development was part of an ongoing investigation into how PPD handled the arrests of 18 BLM protestors last October.

City Manager Ed Zuercher submitted the report to the Phoenix City Council, alluding to further disciplinary actions and reorganization. In a previous letter summarizing the investigation, Zuercher noted that any of PPD’s Tactical Response Unit (TRU) officers involved would be removed from that team. He added that his office and Human Resources would determine disciplinary action, and that officers involved are under an administrative investigation.

Phoenix City Councilmember Sal DiCiccio told AZ Free News that this decision was nothing more than a political show.

“What Phoenix is doing is BS. We have rising crime rates, can’t patrol our streets effectively – all because we don’t have enough cops – and Phoenix politicians are making it worse by constantly attacking Phoenix PD,” wrote DiCiccio. “It’s political gamesmanship, and they’re putting the public at risk to satisfy a tiny handful of screaming anarchist activists who know nothing about anything.”

According to Arizona statute, criminal street gangs are either ongoing or informal associations in which individuals or the collective engage in the commission, attempted commission, facilitation, or solicitation of any felony. Criminal street gang members are defined as individuals who meet at least two of the following criteria: self-proclamation, witness testimony or official statement, written or electronic correspondence, paraphernalia or photographs, tattoos, clothing or colors, and any other indica of street gang membership.

Participation in a criminal street gang is defined as intentionally organizing, managing, directing, supervising, or financing a criminal street gang with the intent to promote or further the criminal objectives of the gang; knowingly inciting or inducing others to engage in violence or intimidation to promote or further the criminal objectives of the gang; furnishing advice or direction in the conduct, financing or management of a criminal street gang’s affairs with the intent to promote or further the criminal objectives of the gang; or intentionally promoting or furthering the criminal objectives of a criminal street gang by inducing or committing any act or omission by a public servant in violation of the public servant’s official duty.

Criminal street gang participation is a class 2 felony, while assistance is a class 3 felony.

The council contracted Ballard Spahr, a national law firm, to conduct the investigation into these claims. The firm determined that PPD wrongfully charged the BLM protestors.

According to their report, the BLM protestors were charged with criminal street gang assistance because they chanted “All Cops Are Bastards.” That’s the full phrase behind “ACAB,” an acronym used by political dissidents opposed to and possibly violent toward police, repopularized during the BLM protests and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year. The Anti-Defamation League classifies ACAB as a hate symbol.

The BLM protestors’ chant reportedly caused PPD officers to believe the protestors were involved in an ACAB-affiliated gang with an intent to harm police. Ballard Spahr cited multiple issues with PPD’s attempt to classify the protestors as part of a new gang. This included PPD’s decision to ignore the absence of any gang called ACAB in the state’s gang database, GangNet.

This debacle hasn’t remained local. At the beginning of August, the DOJ launched its own investigation into PPD.

At the helm of the DOJ investigation is Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke – the Biden appointee who wants to defund the police “strategically,” per her opinion piece published in Newsweek last summer. Clarke promised that the DOJ would work with PDD to create the “best remedies” if they discover any systemic constitutional or federal statutory rights.

If no agreement on best remedies can be reached, Clarke threatened legal action.

The Biden Administration announced it would investigate the PPD and the city of Phoenix for arresting Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors under criminal street gang charges.

Citing the DOJ’s investigation and a lack of jurisdiction, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has declined to launch an investigation of his own.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Ducey Orders Flags At Half-Staff To Honor Phoenix Police Officer Ginarro New

Ducey Orders Flags At Half-Staff To Honor Phoenix Police Officer Ginarro New

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, to honor Phoenix Police Officer Ginarro New, who died from a car accident while on duty last night.

“Officer Ginarro New of the Phoenix Police Department worked each day to protect Arizonans,” said Governor Ducey. “We are devastated by the loss of Officer New, who served with the Department for just under two years. He made safe communities his top priority, and we are grateful for his bravery and dedication to protecting others. Our prayers are with his wife and loved ones. I’ve ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of Officer New’s life and service.”

Officer New was killed by a red light runner on Monday night. The crash occurred in north Phoenix at around 10:30 p.m. near Cave Creek Road and Greenway Parkway, according to the Arizona Daily Independent.

Officer New was transported to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. The driver of the other vehicle was pronounced deceased on the scene.

Officer New, age 27, is survived by his wife Kristen, his mother, Misty, his brother, Marcas, and his grandmother, Susan.