GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 9, 2014) – With curbing the violence on downtown city streets a top priority, the Grand Rapids Police Department is also adjusting to a new chief this week.
FOX 17 sat down with Dave Rahinsky to find out what he has to offer the city.
“The police department they have now is first-rate. They deserve a first-rate police chief,” he says.
With more than two decades of law enforcement experience under his belt, the Philadelphia native says he’s ready for the job.
“I’ve got a son that`s a police officer. I’m also the son of a police officer myself. I’ve got a son in the Navy that`s stationed at Norfolk,” Rahinsky says, “and a daughter in nursing school who’s going to follow us to Grand Rapids, and we couldn`t be more excited.”
Rahinsky says that during his first trip to Grand Rapids, he called his wife Suzanne – a labor and delivery nurse – and told her, “you’d love it.”
After his stint as chief for the city of Franklin, Tennessee, Rahinsky says he’s ready to hit the ground running – relocating and assuming his new duties just 10 days after being hired.
“Police work is all about relationships ,” he says, “and the first thing I need to do is form those relationships.”
He says he needs to build trust and listen to the men and women within the department, while also listening to the community.
We asked him about the recent spike in violence – questions and fears FOX 17 viewers wanted addressed.
“Downtown obviously is a special place. It draws large crowds and regardless of what neighborhood – whether it’s for a special event or a block party – we`re going to be out there with additional resources.” Rahinsky says.
But he reassures that the beefed-up patrols won’t jeopardize the safety of surrounding neighborhoods.
“We want every neighborhood to be safe. We’re not going to set different bars for neighborhoods in proximity to City Hall,” he adds.
Rahinsky says his goal is to be the safest city of our size in the country.
But don’t expect any major changes overnight.
“The last thing I want to do is make a rush to change,” he says, “so I’m soliciting input from the elected and appointed officials. I’m soliciting input from the community. I’m soliciting input from your viewers,” he says.
Rahinsky says he’s pushing for transparency; the use of social media and other cutting edge methods of technology – eager to prove what he plans to bring to West Michigan.
“I do consider myself a public servant,” he says. “It’s not just my job; it’s who I am, it’s what I love to do.”
“It’s in my DNA.”
He says the opportunity to serve a city and department “as special as Grand Rapids” is a big career achievement and he couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishment.