Again in August of final yr, Grand Rapids Police Chief, Eric Payne, introduced his plan to retire in early 2022.
With the beginning of the brand new yr, three candidates have been introduced to be within the working for the place of Grand Rapids Police Chief. These candidates embrace Jim Blocker, Jutiki Jackson and Eric Winstrom.
On Jan. 19 a neighborhood discussion board was held within the Metropolis Fee Chambers in Metropolis Corridor, the place members of the Grand Rapids neighborhood gathered to fulfill and ask questions of the candidates.
Dozens of individuals confirmed as much as the discussion board, with much more engagement on Grand Rapids’ YouTube and Fb reside streams.
The principle focus of the evening was how the candidates would use the place to assist restore the Grand Rapids Police Division’s (GRPD) reference to the Grand Rapids neighborhood.
Candidate Jim Blocker, a former Grand Rapids resident, mentioned he would depart his present place in Battle Creek to revitalize the GRPD with a give attention to neighborhood involvement and engagement.
“This can be a pivotal second, an actual pivotal level,” Blocker mentioned. “We’ve come away from defunding the police again to refunding the police, however the important thing right here is that the neighborhood goes to demand that we do it in a different way.”
Blocker served 25 years within the Battle Creek Police Division (BCPD) in numerous positions, together with patrol officer, neighborhood police officer, member of the SWAT crew, detective and govt officer.
He’s at the moment the 18th Chief of Police for the BCPD and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel within the U.S. Military, serving within the Michigan Military Nationwide Guard. He’s at the moment assigned because the 210th Navy Police Battalion Commanding Officer.
He has had a number of excursions of obligation, incomes two Bronze Stars, two Military Commendation Medals, three Military Achievement Medals, the NATO ribbon and the Fight Motion Badge.
Candidate Jutiki Jackson opened his portion of the evening by addressing a deadly taking pictures he was concerned in as an officer in 1997, earlier than discussing his hope for a future in Grand Rapids.
Jackson mentioned whereas he was in a combat with a male suspect his gun discharged, killing him. It was dominated unintended.
“(It was) one of many worst days, one of many worst experiences that I’ve ever been by,” Jackson mentioned. “Women and men be part of the police division to avoid wasting lives, to assist individuals, to become involved with the neighborhood, to resolve neighborhood issues. Sadly, the taking pictures occurred, and it’s one thing that I take into consideration and it’s with me, it has been for the final 24 years.”
He served 26 years with the Milwaukee Police Division, the place he spent 10 years as an officer earlier than being promoted to sergeant, lieutenant after which captain as a seventh District Commander.
He was additional promoted to his position of an inspector in 2016 and earned a place on the police chief’s govt command crew, the place he oversaw all non-business hour operations, together with weekends and holidays.
Jackson then transitioned to the administration bureau, then the patrol bureau, earlier than lastly settling within the personal sector. Jackson supplied govt oversight to 1,400 members in seven district stations, the neighborhood process pressure and the workplace of neighborhood outreach.
Candidate Eric Winstrom mentioned his aim for Grand Rapids is to make policing higher for each the neighborhood and the officers.
Winstrom mentioned he plans to attain this by bettering the recruitment course of and general morale of the division.
“You need to make the police division a fantastic place for everybody to work,” Winstrom mentioned. “When you’ve received the fame in Grand Rapids of, ‘That’s a police division that embraces range, it pays residing and it treats officers effectively,’ you’re not gonna have the identical challenges as elsewhere.”
Winstrom served 20 years within the Chicago Police Division (CPD) in numerous capacities, together with patrol, investigative, tactical and administrative positions. He’s at the moment holding an govt place on the CPD Management Group and leads the Space 5 Detective Division, which covers one-fifth of the Metropolis of Chicago.
Winstrom beforehand served as a instructor on the Chicago Police Academy main CPD’s youngster intercourse crimes investigation unit and aiding within the creation of the reform administration workplace. He served because the captain of the ninth District Station.
The ultimate choice on who will turn out to be the subsequent Grand Rapids Police Chief in the end rests on the shoulders of Grand Rapids Metropolis Supervisor, Mark Washington.