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GRPD launches search for its next Chief of Police


Chief Eric Payne stepping down after two years at the helm, says he will stay on till new chief is found

The City of Grand Rapids announced Wednesday it has officially begun searching for the next Chief of Police. WGVU’s Daniel Boothe reports.

Current Chief Eric Payne, announced his retirement last month after 30 years at the Grand Rapids Police Department, serving the last two as Chief. While he had planned on serving 3-5 years as the city’s top cop, city officials say 2020 felt like 10---as Chief Payne had to navigate the department through a pandemic, anti-police sentiment following the death of George Floyd, protests and a surge of gun violence that produced more homicides in a single year than in Grand Rapids History.

City Manager Mark Washington Wednesday said he wanted to publicly thank Eric Payne for his public service…

“Mark Washington has done an exceptional job,” Washington said.

While Mark Washington is the first African American City Manager in Grand Rapids history, Eric Payne is the first African American Police Chief in Grand Rapids history. I asked Washington, with the current state of police and community relations, is hiring person of color important, and what characteristics will he look for in the next chief of police?

“We want the best person,” Washington said. “Regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. Having said that, we want the search to be as inclusive as possible.”

Meanwhile, Payne said he will serve as long as the search takes in order for the City to conduct a nationwide search for the next Chief. A position and decision that Washington said the city can not afford to get wrong.

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