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Phoenix Police Executive Assistant Chief to move roles amid retirement of Chief Jeri Williams

Executive Assistant Chief Michael Kurtenbach
Posted at 11:29 AM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 21:34:08-04

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department Executive Assistant Chief will be moving roles, making room for the new chief's executive team.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams announced her upcoming retirement in May, saying she would leave her position this summer.

A Phoenix Police Department spokesperson told ABC15 that in preparation for her retirement, the Executive Assistant Chief, Mike Kurtenbach, will vacate his position. The move allows the incoming chief, who has yet to be named, to choose their executive assistant chief. 

The duties of Kurtenbach will be disbursed among the department’s assistant chiefs.

The move is neither a promotion nor a demotion, according to Phoenix PD.

RELATED: Phoenix PD denies rift between Chief Williams, Kurtenbach following secret recordings

Sources told ABC15 earlier this year that Williams and Kurtenbach were not communicating after ABC15 aired secret recordings of him talking to colleagues in the wake of a major department scandal last year.

The recordings capture Kurtenbach telling other assistant chiefs that Williams misled the public and city council when she claimed she didn’t have knowledge of a controversial case in which protesters were falsely charged as gang members.

“The boss herself knew about this for months,” he said. “We didn’t hide it.”

In the wake of the scandal, Williams demoted three assistant chiefs, who are now suing the city for defamation and a violation of their employment rights. Williams told the city council at the conclusion of an outside investigation that the trio failed to inform her of the case.

In April, ABC15 Investigators were told Chief Williams and Kurtenbach still had a “terrific relationship” in the wake of the ABC15 investigation, according to a statement sent by the department.