Phoenix Hires New Interim Police Chief

Arizona’s largest city has officially hired a new interim police chief after the Phoenix City Council approved his contract.

“I want to thank City Manager Jeff Barton for this opportunity to work with the women and men of the Phoenix Police Department [PPD] and the communities which make up the fabric of Phoenix,” said Interim Chief Michael Sullivan in a statement. “I also want to thank Mayor Gallego and the City Council for approving my employment agreement. This is an important time for the City and the Phoenix Police Department.”

Sullivan, who brings 27 years of experience to PPD, spent the last three years as deputy commissioner for the Baltimore Police Department. He will begin in his new role on September 12.

In the days leading up to his official start, Sullivan will participate in “meetings with key stakeholders, advisory boards and community groups, members of the department, labor leaders, and the media.”

According to the contract details, Sullivan will earn $232,000 per year.

“In the coming weeks, I look forward to spending a lot of time observing and listening. My focus will be on reducing and preventing violent crime, building trusting relationships with the members of the police department, city officials, and community members, and working to continue the reform work already underway,” said Sullivan.

Meanwhile, PPD will conduct a nationwide search for its next police chief. There is no timetable on when that person will be hired, but Sullivan’s contract will last for a year, and the city has the option to extend that contract for up to a year longer.

“Chief Sullivan is a leader with a history as a reformer who evaluates best practices and brings positive community change,” said City Manager Jeff Barton. “His decades of experience, his commitment to working with the community and his law enforcement expertise will be a benefit to the work we have ahead of us.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently has an open civil pattern-or-practice inquiry into PPD.

“It is important to note that this investigation is an investigation of systems and policies identifying​ practices or patterns related to specific areas,” PPD said when the investigation was opened last year. “This is not an investigation of individuals or any one specific incident.”

The DOJ is reportedly looking into whether PPD uses excessive force, engages in discriminatory policing practices, retaliates against protestors, or violates the rights of homeless people.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Michael Sullivan” by Background Photo “Phoenix City Hall” by


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