Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan updates on DOJ investigation, hiring struggles

Nov 3, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 7:46 am

(Twitter screenshot/@PhoenixPolice)...

(Twitter screenshot/@PhoenixPolice)

(Twitter screenshot/@PhoenixPolice)

PHOENIX — It’s been nearly two months since Michael Sullivan took over as interim Phoenix police chief.

The 27-year law enforcement veteran was officially sworn in during a ceremony Friday.

Sullivan was tapped to lead the department through a Department of Justice civil pattern or practice investigation after former chief Jeri Williams announced her retirement in May.

Here’s what Sullivan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday about what he’s learned so far during his tenure, the status of the investigation and hiring struggles.

Q: What’s been your overall assessment of the Phoenix Police Department?

A: Well, my first month here has been very, very busy. I’ve been out meeting with the men and women of the police department, making briefings, being able to have those conversations one-on-one and hearing directly from the men and women out there doing this very difficult work.

I’ve also been out talking to community. I’ve been to a number of community meetings and really spent a lot of time listening and assessing … what I’ve seen is an incredible department that is incredibly understaffed. We’re working very hard to be able to to fix that. But staffing is a real issue. So I’ll put this out there right now: anybody listening that is looking for a job — an incredible job — please come join us at the Phoenix Police Department. We’re hiring.

Q: What is the key to recruitment?

A: People don’t join this job for the pay, they join because of the service and the commitment that you can have in improving the community. You have to be willing to step forward and help folks and really have that in your DNA I think is key to anything else. And then you get to be part of a city like Phoenix that is growing and has all kinds of amazing things happening. You know, I think we have a lot to offer here at the Phoenix Police Department and in Phoenix itself.

Q: Where’s the Department of Justice investigation at and where is it going?

A: I would direct you to the DOJ for comment on where it’s going. What I can tell you is we’ve been talking with them. They were actually on site here last week doing part of their investigation. Regardless of what their investigation finds, what I can tell you is we’re going to line this department to make changes, to make reforms and we’re going to do that regardless of what the DOJ finds.

Q: You’ve been known to successfully monitor or get through one of these processes somewhere else. What was the key to the success having done this before? And what are you bringing to the table to have that success here?

A: You know, it’s really becoming a self-assessing, self-correcting agency and that’s a lot in just a short sentence. Being able to identify when there’s problems and not waiting for somebody else to identify those problems and correcting them immediately is the key and then working collaboratively with the community and the department itself to institute change.

Q: Have you had an opportunity to speak to other leaders in policing around the Valley?

A: There’s incredible partnership around the Valley. I’ve got to meet a number of those leaders in law enforcement and we need to strengthen those partnerships given the challenge that we have with staffing. That’s one way that we can still be as effective as we need to be by making sure that we have those partnerships well developed.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Solar panels...

Damon Allred

Gila River Indian Community to receive solar panels over canals

The Biden-Harris Administration will give $5.65 million to construct and install solar panels over the Casa Blanca Canal.

3 hours ago

Artist rendering of the upcoming Taco Viva restaurant in Phoenix. (Aline Architecture)...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Real estate investor to open drive-thru Taco Viva restaurant in Phoenix

Taco Viva, a new restaurant founded by the managing director of a Scottsdale real estate investment firm, is set to open in early 2024.

3 hours ago

(Facebook Photo)...

Associated Press

Pilot killed in small plane crash near Eloy Municipal Airport

A pilot has been killed in a small plane crash in a vacant lot near Eloy Municipal Airport, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, police said.

14 hours ago

Firebird Motorsports Park....

Chandler racing complex renamed Firebird Motorsports Park

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler has a new name -- Firebird Motorsports Park.

16 hours ago

Pamela Andrews...

Silver Alert canceled after 68-year-old woman located

The Mesa Police Department canceled a Silver Alert on Saturday after locating Pamela Andrew, the Arizona Department of Safety says.

16 hours ago

Silver Alert...

Silver Alert canceled after 81-year-old found dead

John Saler, an 81-year-old who went missing in Tonopah on Wednesday, was found deceased, authorities said Saturday.

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan updates on DOJ investigation, hiring struggles