GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- After 3 days on the job, the new Grand Rapids Chief of Police, David Rahinsky, says he sees why the department has such a good reputation -- but he thinks there is also room for improvement.
Chief Rahinsky says during his first few days on the job he's doing a lot of listening. The Chief says he wants to lead the police force to the next level, but his first priority is building relationships and earning trust.
He says so far, it's going great.
"The community couldn't be more welcoming; the agency couldn't be more welcoming," says Chief Rahinsky. "It's all I hoped it would be and then some."
Although GRPD has a great reputation across the state and across the country, the Chief says the department can be even better.
"My first objective is to listen," he says. "I want to listen. I want our priorities in the Grand Rapids Police Department to be the same priorities the community shares."
Rahinsky was the police chief in Franklin, Tennessee, before coming to Grand Rapids. He says Franklin taught him some valuable lessons.
"While we definitely increased the professionalism in the department very quickly, I should have put the relationship-building before anything else," Chief Rahinsky says. "So now that I've got a fresh opportunity, I want to listen. Then we will start to make the changes taking us to the next level."
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As for getting to know his new community, the new chef says he has no issue with the city's lenient marijuana possession ordinance.
"The community has spoken; it's our job to abide by it and enforce it."
And after decades working in south Florida and Tennessee, the Chief admits he will need to get used to winter.
"Having grown up in Philly, I'm not a stranger to snow -- but it's been a little while. I'm afraid my blood may have thinned a little bit. It will be an interesting winter."