Retired Tempe police commander named interim chief of department

Retired Tempe Police Department Commander Jeff Glover named interim chief of the department. –City of Tempe photo

Jeff Glover, who retired in February as a commander after 20 years with the Tempe Police Department, has been named interim chief, effective Oct. 12, City Manager Andrew Ching announced Sept. 23.

Glover, who will be the city’s first Black police chief, succeeds Sylvia Moir, who a week earlier agreed to resign amid ongoing reforms of the department. Glover will serve for approximately one year while Ching searches for a permanent chief, according to Ching.

“This is an incredible moment and opportunity for me to contribute to the department and the city I love so much,” Glover said. “My professional life has been about serving others and I want to once again bring my passion for service to this community and to my Tempe police sisters and brothers. We can and will rise to this occasion and will work together to hear and implement what our community expects from policing in this new day.”

It is, indeed, a new day in Tempe policing.

This year, Corey Woods became Tempe’s first Black mayor and hinted that there would be reforms in the Police Department.

In June, when the City Council moved forward in the 2020-21 fiscal budget with full funding of $97 million for the Police Department, officers in riot gear greeted several-hundred marchers outside City Hall after their half-mile trek in triple-digit heat from Tempe Beach Park. The gathering, organized by Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, Semillas Arizona, Young Democratic Socialists of America and Tempe Against Police Violence, was peaceful and there were no arrests.

Demonstrators, acknowledging that the budgeting process was too far along to make drastic changes, sought to divert $22.5 million in CARES Act pandemic relief funds from police to education, affordable housing, homelessness, public transportation and community services.

Corey Woods

“When folks were coming to us to express their concerns about police reform in May and June, the biggest thing I was trying to convey on social media and privately was that the Council has to pass a budget by statute, but that doesn’t mean that we’re done with this conversation and that we’re not going to revisit this issue and several others,” Woods said.

Ching accepted Moir’s resignation and appointed Glover at a time when police departments nationwide are making reforms in the wake of outcry precipitated by the death of George Floyd in May at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

While Moir served on several national boards and, Woods and Ching agreed, had many impressive accomplishments during her reign, there also were several embarrassing high-profile incidents inconsistent with Tempe’s desire to achieve social justice and racial equality.

There was the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Antonio Arce, who was running away from an officer; the Tasering of Ivaughn Oakry, as he was holding an infant; and in August, Officer Ronald Kerzaya, who had been involved in the Oakry incident, was accused of holding a Black hotel employee at gunpoint while supposedly looking for a White suspect.

There are hints of declining morale within the department, especially among some Black officers who feel a bias against them. Citizen groups have lamented that Blacks are arrested in Tempe at a much higher rate by the Police Department than any other demographic.

Ching said that Glover will bring expertise, enthusiasm and a desire to collaborate with the community to his new role.

“Jeff is a consummate professional who has impressive public safety credentials and experience, is well respected by residents and peers, and has a unique ability to collaborate and bring people together,” Ching said. “I look forward to working with him and seeing what he brings to the Tempe Police Department.”

The interim role is expected to last until October 2021. According to Glover’s agreement as interim chief, he will be able to apply for the permanent role when it is officially opened.

Glover has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Northern Arizona University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix. He began as a Mesa Police patrol officer in 1998, and after joining Tempe Police in 1999, Glover held increasingly responsible roles in various divisions of the department, including about four years as a commander over areas such as Professional Standards Bureau, Organizational Services Division and Criminal/Special Investigations and SWAT.

Since June 2018, Glover has served as a governor-appointed commissioner on the Arizona Commission for African American Affairs. He also has served as a national board member and Arizona chapter member for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives

Ching says that the next Tempe police chief must be a strong communicator and a strong leader with ability to reach out to the community.

Andrew Ching

“It’s going to be somebody who has a sort of authenticity, both internally and externally,” Ching said. “By that I mean we serve a very diverse community in Tempe and the next chief is going to have to understand that and be able to communicate that and have high levels of understanding and connections within that community and to build those connections and make them stronger.

“At the same time, the next chief must be a real force for stability within the department and make sure that the men and women have the type of leadership that they can count on and that they can feel good about the work that they do, even as they are going to be subjected to the type of scrutiny that we know is part of the ongoing discussion of the policing of America and here in Tempe.”

Understanding the diversity inside the department is critical, according to Ching.

“We are an organization that stands for not tolerating any sort of bias or discrimination against any employees for any reasons, including race, because that is contrary to our values,” Ching said. “If something like that is emanating from any department, we would want to know about it and act.

“And I would add that is equally true of Chief Moir and her executive staff. I never had a concern that Chief Moir wouldn’t take allegations of bias or discriminatory treatment seriously, and I fully expect that the next chief will do the same.”

A new public safety advisory group commissioned by Woods will identify and create proactive policies designed to build trust, accountability and dialogue between the community and the Police Department. Its members will include a wide representation of community members and will examine data, policies, hiring, use of technologies, training, and how the city engages with people who are Black, Indigenous and people of color, and those with mental health challenges.

The advisory board is separate from the city’s new The Right to Breathe initiative, which will employ a holistic, comprehensive approach to how Tempe can proactively bridge the gap of opportunity for its youth of color and those in vulnerable communities.

Woods has said that he wants to reallocate certain resources “like social services or mental-health counseling that would be better suited in a Human Services Department. That would probably be a better way to go and we’d like to see some of those resources moved over there. I can’t speak for everyone on the Council, but I think that’s where I’m at and I would think that’s where most of the Council is, as well.”

“It’s all a matter of recognizing that we are living in times where people are beginning to examine all of these systems and beginning to say that just because we’ve done things a certain way over the years doesn’t mean that is how we should continue to do them,” Woods said. “That applies to everything. Are we getting the results we want?

“If the answer is no, how do we go in and shore up those areas, or change staffing around, or change some responsibilities? What’s working and what isn’t? We have to be honest with one another, and we have to have some hard conversations.

Sylvia Moir

“In conversations I’ve had with the chief and our union representatives and others, I’ve heard that we are doing things really well but we feel we can probably improve upon them by changing some things. We’re working on that internally on what would be considered a package of reforms that I think people will be very, very impressed with, while maintaining the high level of safety and service that we are known for and while also updating policies and procedures and training to make sure we continue to be effective.”

According to the Tempe City Charter, the city manager has ultimate hiring authority for city employees, including hiring and management of the role of police chief. The City Council, according to the Charter, has no authority in any hiring and management decisions, except for the appointed employee roles of city manager, city attorney, city clerk and presiding judge.

The City Council released a statement supporting Ching’s appointment of Glover.

Tempe City Council full statement

Last week, it was announced that Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir will resign her role effective Oct. 25, after having provided exemplary service to the Tempe Police Department since 2016. Today it has been announced that retired Tempe Police Commander Jeff Glover will become Interim Police Chief for a period of about one year starting Oct. 12.

As your elected city representatives, we respect the City Charter and City Manager Andrew Ching’s role and authority under that system. We support his selection of Mr. Glover as the appointed Interim Police Chief. He has the experience and credentials to lead the department, and he has always had the commitment to collaborate with our community members.

Of course, it is of paramount importance that our community continues to get high-quality police services and stable leadership throughout this transition. We know that will continue, thanks to Chief Moir, the dedicated men and women of the Tempe Police Department and the leadership of Mr. Glover.

We sincerely thank Chief Moir for her years of service and contributions to the Tempe community and we warmly wish her well.

We look forward to working with Mr. Glover and to his leadership as our Interim Police Chief.

Statement issued by Tempe Mayor Corey Woods, Vice Mayor Randy Keating and City Council members Jennifer Adams, Robin Arredondo-Savage, Doreen Garlid, Lauren Kuby and Joel Navarro.

 

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