The chairman of the Camelback East Village Planning Committee is in the spotlight for using his skills learned when he was a police officer to help the community.

Camelback East Village Planning Committee chairman Jay Swart, second from the right, helped employees inside a bank and provided detailed descriptions of a suspect who police say robbed a bank recently. Pictured with him here are (from left): Phoenix Police Sgt. Mike Meelhuysen, Lt. Jeff Fields and Commander Chris Eyrich (photo courtesy of the Arcadia Camelback Mountain Neighborhood Association).

Jay Swart, a retired police officer, recently was in a bank near 20th Street and Camelback Road when he saw a person wearing dark clothes and carrying a backpack quickly enter the building, according to Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. Swart reportedly noticed the person look around then walk directly to a cashier. He could see the suspect was armed and demanding cash. As soon as the suspect left the bank, Swart made sure everyone in the bank was safe and directed them on what they should do next.

Swart called 9-1-1 to tell police what had happened and gave them a description of the suspect, as well as what direction he was going and his vehicle’s license plate number. DiCiccio said the vehicle was discovered to be stolen. Police officers were able to find the suspect driving the vehicle, but when they tried to stop him, the suspect accelerated away from them. Authorities later found the suspect’s vehicle abandoned and shortly after that found the suspect, who had entered a home to hide from police. He was taken into custody.

Phoenix Police advise citizens not to follow or pursue suspected criminals but urge them to just call 9-1-1.