GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids residents will learn the names of the finalists in the city’s search for a new police chief next week.

The city did not say what day next week the finalists would be announced.

It has scheduled a public forum for Jan. 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall downtown. There, people can meet the candidates and ask questions about how they would do the job.

You can also submit questions to that forum online in advance. If you aren’t going to the meeting in person, your question must be submitted online by 5:30 p.m. Jan. 17. You can then watch the forum on Comcast Channel 26 or on the city’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.

After the forum, the city will post an survey to find out what people thought of each candidate. It will be available online and by calling 311.

The new chief will replace current Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Payne, who announced last year that he would retire after about 35 years as a police officer. Payne became chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department in July 2019. He is the first African American to hold the office.

The deadline for applications to fill the job was Dec. 10. The city says 35 people from around the country threw their hats in the ring.

After the forums and reviewing the public comment, City Manager Mark Washington will choose who to hire.

“While it is ultimately my responsibility to hire a chief of police, residents will continue to have a voice in the process of selecting our next chief,” Washington said in a statement. “Public safety and resident engagement is essential for a thriving community.”