Interim Phoenix chief explains why community collaboration is a key to policing

Jun 6, 2023, 12:02 PM | Updated: 12:05 pm

Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan is shown being interviewed by KTAR on Radio Row befor...

Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan is shown being interviewed by KTAR on Radio Row before the 2023 Super Bowl in Arizona. (KTAR News File Photo/Jeremy Schnell)

(KTAR News File Photo/Jeremy Schnell)

PHOENIX — When Interim Phoenix Chief Michael Sullivan mentions “FBI” in regards to police work, don’t assume he’s talking about the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“I mean ‘friends before incidents,'” Sullivan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

“We don’t need to be talking to each other the first time when something is really bad. We need to build that relationship prior to a bad incident.”

Community collaboration is one of the guiding principles of the department’s Crime Reduction Plan, which was released on Monday.

“If you see something, say something and report what is going on in your area so we can work together collaboratively to reduce crime,” said Sullivan, who took office on an interim basis in September 2022.

The new plan puts a focus on basing strategic decisions on data analysis. For example, precinct and bureau commanders use data to determine when and where crimes are most likely to happen and deploy resources to prevent and reduce the activity.

Because most of the data comes from public reports, community collaboration can lead to better policing results.

“We encourage the public to report crimes as they occur, because if you don’t report them to the police, we don’t know they’re occurring,” Sullivan said.

The goal of the plan is to reduce violent crime in Arizona’s largest city by 5% and property crime by 8%. Sullivan said progress will be measured at the end of the year.

“I have confidence that the team is going to put the work and effort in and collaborate with the community to make sure that we meet those goals,” he said.

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Interim Phoenix chief explains why community collaboration is a key to policing