Incoming Tempe police chief discusses navigating start of his new position

Apr 20, 2023, 4:15 AM | Updated: 2:17 pm

(Twitter Photo/@ChiefKenMcCoy)...

(Twitter Photo/@ChiefKenMcCoy)

(Twitter Photo/@ChiefKenMcCoy)

PHOENIX — The new police chief for an East Valley city will step into his role in June, with hopes of bringing law enforcement and the community together throughout his time in the position.

Kenneth McCoy will start his position with the Tempe Police Department on June 5. He previously spent 27 years with the Anchorage Police Department as a former top official before he retired in January 2022.

“When I was with the police department, really, my philosophy was building a positive culture and building those relationships on trust and transparency with the community,” McCoy told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Evening News on Wednesday.

He intends to bring a similar philosophy to Arizona —  one that also incorporates inclusivity of those within the department and community.

“The first thing I’m going to do is listen. I’m going to need to meet with all of my officers and professional staff and to hear what’s working, what’s not working, what are the gaps, what do we need to be more effective?” McCoy said.

“I’m also going to have to look to ensure we have the right people in the right place, right seats, so that’s an important aspect for me with evaluating and meeting the members of the police department.”

For McCoy, connecting with and learning the concerns of business owners and citizens is equally as important as listening to the concerns of those within his department.

“Once I have that foundation, I can then start developing a strategy. But, again, me coming in and making immediate changes isn’t the answer. I need to take a moment and listen, and see what’s working and hear what the concerns are, and then together we can move forward.”

The Alaska native replaces Jeffrey Glover, who stepped down from the role to take over as the director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety in February after holding the position since 2020.

After McCoy retired from the Anchorage Police Department, he went on to be the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

“When I retired I was blessed to join Providence, which is an amazing organization in serving this role, and really, the work that I do at Providence is very similar to the work I did in law enforcement, and the work that I will continue to do, and that’s building an internal culture where everyone at the department feels welcomed and valued for their contributions,” McCoy said.

Three other finalists, which included interim Tempe police chief Josie Montenegro, were beat out for the position by McCoy.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nick Sadowski contributed to this report.

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Incoming Tempe police chief discusses navigating start of his new position