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Grand Rapids begins search process for new police chief

Posted at 10:52 AM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 10:52:00-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The process to select Grand Rapids’ next police chief is officially underway now that the City Commission has approved a contract with executive search firm Public Sector Search & Consulting Inc.

PSSC will work closely with the city’s human resources department and City Manager Mark Washington during the police chief search and hiring process, according to a news release Wednesday.

Washington said the hiring process will be “transparent and include a robust public engagement component,” with residents being asked in the coming weeks to share their thoughts on what Washington needs to look for in the next police chief.

City officials plan to hold virtual public engagement events in the “near future” to gather feedback, and PSSC will reach out to community stakeholders to develop a candidate profile.

Each group will be asked to provide feedback on the personal characteristics and professional experience that are most important for the person who will next lead the Grand Rapids Police Department.

“I encourage our residents and other community members to participate and have their voices heard,” Washington said. “Input from our neighborhoods and the community is critical to helping us select the right person.”

PSSC will gather and screen applicants after the community engagement process.

Then, those candidates will be presented to the city and interviewed by several panels, which will provide critical feedback to the city manager.

Washington will make the appointment and expects to do so early next year.

“It is important we have the right leader to ensure the safety and trust of our community,” Washington said. “I am looking for a candidate who is focused on building trust, preventing crime, improving response, providing transparency, valuing diversity and is an outstanding leader and great communicator. I also want someone who is collaborative and is committed to the goals surrounding community and neighborhood policing outlined in the department’s strategic plan. I look forward to hearing from the community on other qualities we need in our next police chief. I am confident that whomever I choose can help us strengthen community-police relationships and continue to build trust.”

Current Police Chief Eric Payne plans to stay in his role through the appointment of the new chief.

Last month, Payne announced his retirement planned for the first quarter of 2022.

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