The deputy commissioner overseeing the Baltimore Police Department’s consent decree reform process is departing for Arizona, where he will serve as interim chief of the Phoenix Police.
Michael Sullivan has overseen Baltimore’s compliance bureau, which manages the consent decree reforms, including rewriting policies, officer training and assessments.
Sullivan was one of the initial hires by Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison in 2019. Sullivan was brought on to lead the department’s Operations Bureau, and was responsible for the daily functions of more than 2,000 sworn officers in patrol, investigations and other assignments. He later replaced Danny Murphy, who was brought to Baltimore by Harrison from the New Orleans Police Department where Murphy oversaw consent decree reforms.
It’s unclear who will become Sullivan’s replacement in Baltimore.
Sheree Briscoe currently serves as the deputy commissioner overseeing the Operations Bureau, and Brian Nadeau, who previously worked for the FBI, oversees the department’s Integrity Bureau, which includes internal affairs. James Gillis serves as deputy commissioner of the Administrative Bureau, which includes the forensics lab and fiscal services.
Baltimore first entered a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice in April 2017 after a federal investigation found a pattern of unconstitutional policing, and the police department continues to work toward compliance, though it’s unclear when that will occur.
Sullivan will serve as an interim chief in Phoenix as the department undergoes a Justice Department pattern or practice investigation, the Baltimore Police statement said. A similar investigation found Baltimore officers regularly violated residents’ civil rights, and led to the ongoing consent decree reform efforts. Sullivan is expected to remain in Phoenix during a nationwide search for a permanent police chief.
“The contributions that Michael Sullivan has provided to the BPD are immeasurable,” Harrison said in a statement. “His dedication, professionalism and leadership have been instrumental in reforming our agency and establishing a culture of accountability.”
Sullivan has worked in law enforcement for 27 years, and previously served as police chief in Louisville, Kentucky. In Baltimore, he earned an annual salary of $200,000, according to city salary records.
“The occasion to work alongside the most devoted men and women in law enforcement in partnership with the community has been an experience I will always relish,” Sullivan said in a statement.
“I am proud of how we have been able to advance police reform, and transform the management and accountability systems of the BPD into the 21st century,” he said. “I look forward to taking the valuable insights Baltimore has taught me to advance this noble profession.”