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Grand Rapids hires search firm to find next police chief

Grand Rapids Police Department station
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids Police Department station

The City Commission unanimously voted to hire Public Sector Search and Consulting at a meeting Tuesday.

PSSC has done work in big cities like Seattle, Dallas, and San Francisco, but also has worked in smaller cities like Albany and Syracuse.

Mark Washington, Grand Rapids City Manager, says he is impressed with the firm’s work in other cities.

“In each of their searches, they had diverse candidate pools that understood community policing and also have worked very closely with Twenty First Century Policing,” Washington said.

He's referring to the national consulting firm that helped the department examine its policies and procedures. The goal was to ensure there was no racial bias.

The department has been scrutinized heavily in the past few years for multiple incidents where unarmed black children were either arrested, handcuffed or held at gunpoint.

Former Chief David Rahinsky said during his retirement announcement that these incidents had no effect on his decision to leave the department. Rahinsky joined the department in 2014.

Washington says PSSC is committed to finishing its search in 16 weeks.

“My timeframe was sometime this summer, we don’t want to rush the process, but if we can do it sooner, certainly we will try to get it done as soon as possible,” he said.

Washington said during Rahisnky’s retirement announcement that officers within the department are encouraged to apply.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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