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Interim Phoenix police chief holds news conference, new liaison appointed after Garcia firing

PHOENIX — After a huge, unexpected shake-up within the Phoenix Police Department, interim police chief Joseph Yahner held a news conference to reintroduce himself to the community.

“I am honored to once again to lead the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department in keeping our community,” said Yahner. “When I stepped in last time, I was a relatively new executive assistant chief. I think I am more experienced.”

Yahner, who served as acting chief during the controversy involving former police chief Jack Harris, laid out his plan for the department.

“I will continue to focus on crime suppression strategies to keep the community safe. I will work to improve communication internally and externally to strengthen our public trust. I will pursue measures to ensure that our officers have the tools to be successful and maintain their safety,” said Yahner. “I am committed to work with all stakeholders to collaborate on issues that concern all of us.”

City officials also announced Friday that assistant to the police chief Gerald
Richard is retiring and will be replaced by Marchelle Franklin.

Franklin has been serving in the city’s aviation department as deputy aviation
director for community development.

The change comes a day after City Manager Ed Zuercher fired Chief Daniel Garcia
for insubordination. Garcia held an unauthorized news conference Thursday to ask
the city for a two-year contract.

Yahner said Franklin is the perfect person to assist with
outreach during what’s been a pivotal time in the Phoenix community.

During his news conference, however, Yahner would not comment on the Garcia’s firing.

“We will continue to do what we do,” he said.

Yahner said he didn’t expect to make any significant changes, but would look at controversial policies implemented by Garcia along with staffing changes within the upper-echelon of the Phoenix Police Department.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.