ARIZONA NEWS

Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan to start on Monday

Sep 8, 2022, 4:25 AM | Updated: 9:23 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 27-year law enforcement veteran will step into his new role as interim Phoenix police chief on Monday after a contract to hire him was signed and approved, the city recently announced.

Michael Sullivan’s contract terms were approved by unanimous vote of the Phoenix City Council last week, with an initial one-year term that could be extended up to 24 months, according to a press release.

As Sullivan transitions within the department, he’ll be included in meetings with key stakeholders, advisory boards, members of the department, labor leaders and the media.

“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,” Sullivan said in the release.

Outgoing Chief Jeri Williams, who announced her pending retirement in May, has said she’ll stay on to assist Sullivan through his onboarding period. Her final day has not yet been determined.

Sullivan was hired to lead Phoenix police through the Department of Justice civil pattern or practice investigation. He previously led police reform efforts for three years as Deputy Commissioner for the Baltimore Police Department.

He also worked for the Louisville Metro Police Department, leaving prior to the 2019 death of Breonna Taylor.

“Chief Sullivan is a leader with a history as a reformer who evaluates best practices and brings positive community change,” City Manager Jeff Barton said.

“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.”

While Sullivan fulfills his term, the city of Phoenix will perform a nationwide search for a permanent police chief. Selection for the position will begin with a robust community engagement process, including input from elected officials, labor groups and department employees.

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Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan to start on Monday