Top-level shake-up rocks Phoenix Police Department

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- There’s a huge shake-up in the Phoenix Police Department with Chief Daniel Garcia demoting three of his top people.

Three longtime Phoenix police assistant chiefs are out.  Tracy Montgomery, Blake McClelland and Kevin Robinson have been dropped down to the rank of commander.  Robinson was a top contender for the chief's job, eventually won by Garcia.

“These decisions are tough,” Garcia said.  “That said, I take that very seriously and I want to make sure we have the best team possible.”

Four people have been promoted to replace the demoted assistant chiefs.

Harry Markley is the new assistant chief of patrol. Sandra Renteria will now be in charge of investigations. Dave Harvey will be the new assistant chief of strategic services, and Chuck Miller will be the new support services assistant chief.

All four have more than 20 years of law enforcement experience.

“We want to be engaged with our community,” Garcia said, explaining that the four new selections were chosen, in part, for their ability to connect with the community and fellow officers.

The move comes four months after a police union survey gave Garcia negative reviews. In part, the survey said 82 percent of responding officers were “very dissatisfied” with the chief's job performance.

Garcia, who has made a variety of changes since taking over the Phoenix Police Department in May 2012, said that didn’t play into this decision.

Garcia did keep one holdover on his top team.  Joseph Yahner, a 28-year veteran of the force who was acting chief until Garcia was hired, keeps his job as executive assistant chief -- a job he's held since 2009.