Embattled Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris has retired after 39 years with the department.
The city announced Harris' retirement in a written statement Friday morning.
In that statement, Assistant City Manager Ed Zuercher said that while Harris was chief and public safety manager, the Phoenix Police Department became nationally recognized as a leader in community-based policing.
"While he served as Chief and Public Safety Manager, the Police Department became recognized nationally as a leader in community-based policing," Zuercher said in the statement. "Crime rates are at an all-time low to a great extent because of Jack's focus on getting the worst criminals off the street. Phoenix residents should be proud of their excellent Police Department. We wish Jack well in his retirement."
Harris was temporarily relieved of his duties March 3 as Phoenix public safety manager, pending completion of an internal review of contested kidnapping statistics.
Harris was under fire for inflated kidnapping statistics from 2008-09 presented in Washington, D.C., to procure a federal grant of $1.7 million to battle kidnapping and home invasions.
CBS-5 was the first station last summer to report that the crime stats may have been inflated.
In December, CBS-5 reported that a federal investigation was under way. Phoenix city leaders sent CBS-5 a letter stating, "We have verified several times the accuracy of the kidnapping statistics. We have confidence in the outstanding work done by the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department... including public safety manager Jack Harris."
Zuercher told CBS-5 that they were wrong.
"Clearly from what we learned, that letter was not totally correct," said Zuercher. "That's why we appointed a kidnapping review panel to dig into that."
A federal investigation is under way to determine the accuracy of the crime stats.
Despite the investigation, some city and community leaders said that Harris' legacy should not be linked to the questionable kidnapping stats.
U.S Marshal David Gonzales has worked with Harris for more than 20 years.
"One of the reasons our community is safer today is because of Jack Harris," said Gonzales. "I hope the issue with the kidnapping stats doesn't cloud his outstanding service to citizens, not just in Phoenix, but the state of Arizona. I think he'll be missed. He was a great chief, and it will be hard to find somebody to fill his shoes."
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