Fired Sand Lake chief: ‘Nobody’s contacted me’

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Sand Lake Village Council voted last week to fire the police chief, but he says he hasn’t heard a word from village leaders.

The sudden termination came after Jim Reamsma was injured in an accident unrelated to work. During a special meeting Dec. 3, Sand Lake’s council voted him out as top cop. At the time, he was still in the hospital.

“One of my officers did call me after the special meeting and he says, ‘I think they just fired you,'” Reamsma told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday at his Grand Rapids home. “But to date, I haven’t actually heard anything officially from the village. Nobody’s contacted me (by) phone call or letters.”

Village leaders confirmed Reamsma’s termination to 24 Hour News 8.

The minutes from the special meeting have not been posted to the village’s website. Reamsma name, however, has been removed.

“If everybody felt the need for a transition, it probably could’ve been handled different,” Reamsma said.

He explained that he broke his pelvis, wrist and back on Black Friday. He was fixing a flag pole at his second job as pastor of ten25 Church in Grand Rapids. The pole snapped and he fell more than 20 feet.

“I had four screws put in my pelvis,” he said.

Reamsma said the next day, he told the village president that he would need time for recovery, which could take as long as 90 days.

“Then on December 3rd, I got a phone call from her (the village president) and she told me, she says, ‘I don’t think we’re going to be able to wait for you to come back.’ And that was the last time I heard anything from the village,” Reamsma explained.

24 Hour News 8 contacted village President Danielle Hardenburg and got an email back on Thursday. She declined an interview request but wrote, “Jim was not able to provide services to the Village of Sand Lake on extended amount of time. We will pursue a new Police of Chief for the Village. We are not able to wait the extended time here without a chief.”

“It would’ve been nice for somebody to come up to the hospital and at least (have) discussed it,” Reamsma said.

He isn’t focused on what happened nor how it went down. He said he has a great love for the village and wishes the department the best. On Thursday, he was celebrating coming home from the hospital and his birthday.

“It’s really been something I haven’t been able to be too concerned about because your priorities in life change a lot when you can’t move without help,” Reamsma said.

Reamsma was clear that he doesn’t want to smear any of the village leaders’ reputations.

He did add that finding a new police chief could take just as long as his recovery.

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