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Phoenix police have been under federal investigation for almost 30 months

For months, Phoenix officials have publicly anticipated the release of findings by federal civil rights investigators from a sweeping review of the city and its Police Department.

At a public safety subcommittee meeting this week, Phoenix Councilman Jim Waring likened his own will to fight to General Ulysses S. Grant’s resolve to not retreat from Virginia late in the Civil War.

“Why the hell would anybody ever accept a consent decree? You might as well fight it out, no matter how long it takes,” said Waring.

He spoke after a presentation on what city leaders should keep in mind when weighing whether to accept a court-enforceable reform deal with the Justice Department, or dare the feds to sue.

The former means the city would have a seat at the table when a consent decree is written, said Tom Liddy, civil division chief at Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

“I don’t want to leave you with a feeling that if you don’t sign a consent decree, you’re going to save hundreds of millions of dollars. ‘Cause that’s not factual,” said Liddy.

The federal review of Phoenix and its police department is about to enter its 30th month.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.