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Chief of Police search narrows field to three

City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids announces candidates, all of whom are outsiders to the city.

The City of Grand Rapids announced that three finalists have been chosen in the search for the GRPD’s next Chief of Police. WGVU’s Daniel Boothe has the details.

According to City officials over 30 candidates expressed interest in the job, but the search for the next Grand Rapids Chief of Police has been narrowed down to three finalists—

Battle Creek Chief of Police Jim Blocker, retired Milwaukee Police Inspector Jutiki Jackson and Chicago Police Commander Eric Winstrom are all still in the running to be the city’s next top cop.

And while all three have lengthy resumes in law enforcement, all three share one thing in common—all of them are outsiders to the GRPD, as the city’s next Chief of Police will not be an internal hire.

The last time City Manager Mark Washington hired a police chief, he went with Deputy Chief Eric Payne, who had nearly 30 years as a Grand Rapids Police Officer Payne, who announced his retirement last year only lasted a couple of years on the job before calling it quits, but City Manager Mark Washington was quick to thank Payne for his service.

“Chief Payne has done an exceptional job,” Washington said.

Washington said while Payne had hoped to serve at least 5 years as Chief, navigating the GRPD through the George Floyd riots, the deadliest year in city history in 2020, and the stresses of policing during the pandemic made retirement come sooner than expected.

Meanwhile, the community is invited to meet the three candidates during a public forum 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19 in the 9th Floor City Commission Chambers in City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW.

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