Meet Muskegon Heights’ new police chief

Muskegon County

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Muskegon Heights Police Department is preparing to swear in a new chief.

Maurice Sain has been serving as the interim chief since former Chief Joseph Thomas moved to a new department in October. The city recently announced Sain would take over on a permanent basis.

“It’s been exciting. I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve the community in this capacity,” Sain said.

Sain has been serving at MHPD for 22 years. He started as an officer in 1999 before becoming a sergeant about 10 years later. In 2019, he was promoted to deputy chief.

“I was playing basketball at community college. I took a police science class and kind of got interested in the police field,” Sain said. “I met, at the time, Chief George Smith at the barbershop and he said he needed some big, tall guys on the force. I got in contact with him and started the police academy.”

Sain said he enjoys what he does and becoming chief one day was always on his list of career goals.

“Once you get into a field, if you’re a competitive person, you want to try to reach the top of the field,” he said. “I have the opportunity to be in this position now and the people and team that I have working with me now are a bunch of great police officers, men and women. We just want to continue the motivation and motion we had with Chief Thomas.”

Sain said there are a few moments over the course of his 22-year career that stand out. One of them involved reuniting a woman who had Alzheimer’s disease and wandered off with her family.

The other involved two children who drowned on Mother’s Day.

“They were trying to find flowers for their mom and (one child) ended up slipping into a pool. One kid tried to save the other kid,” Sain recalled. “Knowing the mother and the father in that case was heart-wrenching.

“You have some good days and some bad days but overall, you enjoy being able to assist people,” he added.

Sain’s predecessor, Joseph Thomas, instituted several programs to get guns off of the streets of Muskegon Heights and crack down on violent crime. Thomas told News 8 in an interview last winter that crime had overall decreased in the years he served. Sain said he hopes to continue down a similar path.

“We’re definitely going to stay on the anti-gun, anti-violence (path). We’re going to hit that harder. We have some plans for special details to kind of combat that when it gets warmer outside,” Sain said.

He said it’s also important to him to put more emphasis on community policing in the years to come. 

“I want the citizens to see officers not just when they’re taking somebody to jail; I want them out talking to the kids, the business owners and being a part of the community,” he added.  

Sain has not been officially sworn in as chief yet. He said a date for that ceremony will be set pending contract negotiations. 

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