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Phoenix extends interim police chief contract, will launch national recruitment

Michael Sullivan
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Michael Sullivan, interim Phoenix police chief

Phoenix’s interim police chief is expected to stay on the job through August of 2025. On Wednesday, the City Council unanimously approved extending Michael Sullivan’s contract while beginning the search for a permanent chief.

The move comes two weeks after the Justice Department released its investigative report into the Phoenix Police Department. It found a “pattern or practice” that violates the constitution and civil rights, including discriminatory policing and excessive force.

City leaders have directed Sullivan and City Manager Jeff Barton to assess the DOJ’s 36 recommendations, which could lead to federal oversight. Sullivan isn’t saying whether he’ll apply for the permanent position, only that he will assess where things are and consult with his family when the national recruitment begins.

Barton said, “Chief Sullivan has demonstrated a deep understanding of policing and the importance of collaborating with the community. I look forward to his contributions over the next 12 months.”

Sullivan came to Phoenix from Baltimore where he led that police department’s reform efforts.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.
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