Grand Rapids city manager hopes to choose new police chief by early spring

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Grand Rapids is less than a week into its formal recruitment effort in the search for a new police chief.

Current Chief Eric Payne will retire early next year.

City Manager Mark Washington says the city did a lot of pre-recruitment work to learn what the public would like to see in a new police chief.

“Community-based organizations, people who were both supporters and also critics of the police department. Faith-based organizations were part of the conversation and the public in general was invited, too,” Washington listed during a Wednesday stream on the WOOD TV8 Live Desk.

Watch a replay of the Live Desk conversation above.

Washington said the city has hired an executive search firm called Public Sector Search & Consulting Inc. to run its nationwide recruitment effort. PSSC hosted 26 stakeholder input sessions and four virtual community input forums. 

The city manager said the candidate could come from anywhere, external or from within the Grand Rapids Police Department.

He added that in this day and age, a police chief has to be culturally competent and be able to diversify the ranks of law enforcement. 

“This has been very challenging times over the past couple of years for law enforcement to function. They’ve been celebrated by some, they’ve been critiqued very harshly by others and what we are finding is the talent pool of people who want to enter the profession now has diminished,” Washington said.

He said the open application period runs through Dec. 10. Once final candidates are selected, they will be interviewed by several panels, including a public engagement opportunity. Washington says he hopes to choose Payne’s successor by early spring 2022.

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