The city of Grand Rapids will soon have a new Chief of Police, as City Manager Mark Washington is expected to make an announcement by the end of June. Meanwhile, city residents this Thursday evening will have the chance to meet the three finalists for the job.
After a nationwide search for ideal candidates to apply, Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington announced last Tuesday that he had narrowed down the search for the next Chief of Police to three candidates. Only one comes from within the GRPD, that would be Grand Rapids Deputy Police Chief Eric Payne, the others are relative outsiders, while Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski is in the running, and Washington will also consider retired Pittsburgh Assistant Police Chief Larry Scirotto to lead the Grand Rapids Police Department.
Whomever Washington chooses will inherit a Grand Rapids Police Department currently trying to repair its relationship with the African-American community. The department has had a series of publicity disasters and faced public scrutiny over the past two and a half years for handcuffing unarmed African-American children under the age of 13 on multiple occasions, while a traffic study found that Grand Rapids police were twice as likely to pull over black drivers as they were non-black drivers.
Meanwhile, City Manager Washington says he is confident that one of the three candidates up for the job will emerge as the leader the city needs to turn things around at the GRPD.
The forum runs from 6:30 to 8:30 Thursday, as the public will get to listen to the three candidates each answer a series of questions. According to the GRPD, the community will have an opportunity to meet the three candidates shortly after.