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New Phoenix police chief wants to train officers on de-escalation tactics

​Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan has unveiled a four-pronged plan that includes training 400 officers on less-lethal weapons by the end of 2023.

PHOENIX — Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan has released a four-pronged plan that aims to help officers de-escalate critical incidents.

After meeting with community members, Sullivan has outlined four goals he wishes to achieve during the tenure of his one-year contract. 

>> Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast. <<

The goals include the following:

  • Reinforce patrol briefing training on time, distance, and cover
  • Implement scenario-based training on de-escalation
  • Review the agency's use-of-force policies
  • Expand the training on less-lethal tools

The chief's plan includes equipping an additional 400 police officers with tools like Pepperball devices by the end of 2023.

“This plan revolves around the concept that preservation of life is at the core of policing," Sullivan said in a statement. “Becoming a self-correcting organization fosters continuous improvement which allows us to refocus on that core ideal which is more important now than ever."

Sullivan was hired earlier this year by the city to replace former Chief Jeri Williams on an interim basis until a permanent chief is appointed. His contract could be extended if the hiring process takes longer than expected.

The U.S. Department of Justice has spent the last year investigating Phoenix police for allegations of excessive force and abuse.

Not long after Sullivan was appointed, he placed two officers on leave after a video surfaced showing them kicking a suspect inside a Phoenix convenience store. The agency later released additional video footage of the incident.

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