Phoenix names interim police chief to lead department through DOJ investigation

Jul 29, 2022, 11:28 AM | Updated: 11:55 am

Michael Sullivan is set to begin his interim tenure as chief of police in Phoenix on Sept. 12, 2022...

Michael Sullivan is set to begin his interim tenure as chief of police in Phoenix on Sept. 12, 2022. (Photo via City of Phoenix)

(Photo via City of Phoenix)

PHOENIX – A law enforcement veteran with police reform experience will serve as interim chief of the Phoenix Police Department through the completion of an ongoing federal civil rights investigation, the city announced Friday.

Michael Sullivan will take over for Jeri Williams, who announced her retirement nearly three months ago, on Sept. 12, the city said in a press release. Williams, who was appointed as Phoenix chief in October 2016, will stay on through the transition period.

“Sullivan brings 27 years of law enforcement experience to the table, and he has led police reform efforts for major cities,” City Manager Jeff Barton, who led the search, said in the release.

“His experience working in collaboration with communities, the DOJ, federal court and more gives me confidence he has the experience necessary to step into the interim phoenix police chief role during this important time.”

Sullivan’s tenure is expected to last 1-2 years, by which time the Department of Justice investigation into potential civil rights violations and abuses of power by the police department is expected to be completed. The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division announced the investigation in August 2021.

The city will then hold a nationwide search, including internal candidates, for a permanent chief. The interim search focused on external candidates with experience dealing with the Department of Justice.

“I am committed to providing transparent and inclusive public engagement in the search for a permanent chief,” Barton said. “Input from our community, officers, elected officials, and labor groups will be critical to the selection process.”

Sullivan spent more than two decades with the Louisville Metro Police Department, working his way up to deputy chief/chief of staff, according to a bio supplied by the city of Phoenix.

He was recruited in June 2019 to the Baltimore Police Department, where he served in multiple roles, most recently as commander of the compliance bureau.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Persian New Year Festival...

Annual Persian New Year Festival adds fashion show, musical performance to schedule

This year's version of the Persian New Year Festival will feature three events over four days starting Feb. 28 in Scottsdale.

5 hours ago

42-year-old Joseph D. Eschief (left), 27-year-old Antonio N. Eschief and 46-year-old Selena Dewey. ...

4 people stabbed during early-morning melee at Scottsdale bar

A suspect is in custody after four people were stabbed early Saturday during a violent altercation at a bar in Scottsdale.

5 hours ago

Phoenix Fire...

Occupant dead after vehicular crash leads to flames in Phoenix

One person died and two others suffered non-life-threatening injuries after a vehicle crash sparked a fire in Phoenix, authorities said. 

6 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

7 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

8 hours ago

In this Sept. 30, 2011, file photo, solar panel installation continues at a rapid pace at the Mesqu...

Associated Press

Over 1 million Arizona customers to see rooftop solar fees increase

About 1.4 million customers in Arizona will be paying more for electricity now that regulators have approved a rate hike.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Phoenix names interim police chief to lead department through DOJ investigation