Embattled Phoenix police chief fired

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Phoenix police chief fired after union strife

PHOENIX (AP) -- Embattled Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia was fired Thursday, hours after he held an unauthorized news conference where he said it was "time to silence the critics" and requested a two-year contract from the city.

Unions representing Phoenix police officers sought a vote of no confidence in Garcia last month, alleging the chief had lost credibility with the officers in his charge.

But City Manager Ed Zuercher said the firing was for insubordination.

"This has nothing to do with the vote of no confidence. This issue is about obeying orders," Zuercher said at an evening news conference. "The chief disobeyed a direct order when he held his news conference today. We cannot expect our officers to follow orders when our chief fails to lead by example."

Zuercher said Executive Assistant Chief Joe Yahner has agreed to serve as acting chief, effective immediately, and would serve until a permanent replacement is hired.

Yahner was one of five finalists for the job that Garcia got in March 2012.

Garcia served nearly 34 years in the Dallas Police Department and had been an assistant police chief there since 2004 before being hired by Phoenix.

But he struggled for popularity in Arizona, where he led one of the largest police departments in the country with nearly 4,500 employees.

Garcia was heavily criticized after a police officer who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following a drunken driving arrest was fired and then killed himself. Craig Tiger's 2013 termination under a new "get tough" policy on officer DUIs came a year after he and his partner were involved in the fatal shooting of a man who was threatening people with a bat.

In the wake of Tiger's suicide, city officials announced last month that Phoenix was creating a task force to consider possible ways to improve Phoenix's programs to help police officers and other responders afflicted with PTSD.

The union for Phoenix police officers said the Police Department should have done more to help Tiger.

Officials from the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association and the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association said Tiger's death was symptomatic of a larger pattern of low morale among rank-and-file officers and a culture of "tyrannical" leadership by Garcia.

Disputes stemmed from controversial personnel changes, new uniform requirements, asking officers to re-take their oath of office annually, and pushing a pilot program that would replace officers' four-day, 10-hour-a-day workweek with a traditional five-day, eight-hour-a-day schedule. The workweek changes were never implemented.

At his news conference Thursday afternoon, Garcia said the unions were harming the city and police officers.

"If I'm to be terminated for upholding the highest policing standards, that will be a first in policing and a disgrace to our city," he said.

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Phoenix police chief fired after asking for 2-year contract

PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia has been fired.

The move was announced by city officials late Thursday afternoon.

It came hours after Garcia requested a two-year contract from the city, saying it was "time to silence the critics."

Phoenix Vice Mayor Jim Waring says City Manager Ed Zuercher told Garcia not to hold the news conference and the firing was for insubordination.

Unions representing Phoenix police officers sought a vote of no confidence in Garcia last month.

They allege Garcia had lost credibility with the officers in his charge.

Garcia was hired in March 2012. He was formerly an assistant police chief in Dallas.

But Garcia struggled for popularity since his arrival in Phoenix, where he led one of the largest police departments in the country with nearly 4,500 employees.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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PHOENIX -- Phoenix city councilman Sal DiCiccio says the city manager has fired police chief Daniel Garcia.

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City manager fires Phoenix Police Chief Garcia

Phil Benson

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia has been fired for insubordination, Phoenix Vice-Mayor Jim Waring said.

The firing came minutes after Garcia held a news conference Thursday afternoon asking the city for a two-year contract with no raise.

City Manager Ed Zuercher had told Garcia not to hold the news conference.

"It's unfortunate and perhaps time for a change given the circumstances," Waring said.

Garcia said he wanted the contract in order to "silence the critics."

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, an outspoken critic of the chief, issued the following statement:

"I have an obligation to speak about issues that affect the safety of our city. I will continue to represent the public and will continue to speak out on issues that impact our citizens. That will not end.

"To be clear, I have repeatedly spoken out about concerns related to the leadership of the Chief and the impact on the safety of our public and to the police officer on our streets. His policies have resulted in a severe drop in morale among our rank and file police officers. That drop in morale has an impact on how our officers do their jobs and how they protect our citizens.

"Yesterday, the City Council held a meeting dealing with police. We heard over two hours of public testimony in which citizens all across Phoenix voiced concerns about law enforcement and community engagement. But neither the Chief nor anyone else in his line of command attend this meeting. One of my fellow council members called his absence "inexcusable."

"Chief Garcia has lost my confidence. The vote amongst officers will likely show that he has lost their confidence, and his failure to appear at yesterday's council meeting can't inspire confidence among our citizens.

"I have a right and a duty to speak about my concerns, especially when these concerns can affect the safety of our officers and the public. I have stated that I believe there should be change in leadership at the Phoenix PD.

"But any personnel decision must be made by the city manager. I have never nor will I ever ask the City Manager to fire him. The only thing I have asked the City Manager to do is look into these serious issues. So while I believe there should be a leadership change that decision is and will remain with the City Manager."

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Phoenix police chief requests 2-year contract from city

PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia has requested a two-year contract from the city, saying it's "time to silence the critics."

At a news conference Thursday, Garcia says police unions are harming both the city and officers.

Unions representing Phoenix police officers sought a vote of no confidence in Garcia last month.

They allege Garcia has lost credibility with the officers in his charge.

City Manager Ed Zuercher says Garcia has a very difficult job, leading one of the largest police departments in the country with nearly 4,500 employees."

Garcia was hired in March 2012. He was formerly an assistant police chief in Dallas and has struggled for popularity since his arrival in Phoenix.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.