By The Associated Press

A former Phoenix police officer has been hired to oversee the state Department of Economic Security's new Office of Child Welfare Investigations.

Gregory McKay joins DES through a partnership between the agency and the Phoenix Police Department.

In his 17 years with Phoenix police, McKay has worked as a homicide detective and investigator for crimes against children.

DES officials say McKay will oversee 29 staff members in the Office of Child Welfare Investigations unit, which will begin on Dec. 31.

The new office will coordinate with statewide local law enforcement and Child Protective Services case managers on cases of severe child abuse and/or neglect from which criminal allegations or charges may arise.