GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - After more than four years on the job, Grand Rapids Police Chief David M. Rahinsky on Thursday announced plans to step down as chief of Michigan's second largest city.
Rahinsky, who got his start as a transit cop in Philadelphia, says he is moving back to Florida, where his wife has accepted a job. His last day in office will be Dec. 18.
"I'm still wrestling with the fact that for the first time in 30 years, I won't have a uniform to put on,'' Rahinsky said at a Thursday morning news conference announcing his departure. "For the first time since I was 13, I won't have a job to go to.''
He said he is looking forward to spending time with family. "I've got a granddaughter who's eight years old who still thinks it's cool to hang out with me and I want to enjoy those years before I become not so cool,'' Rahinsky said.
During his tenure in Grand Rapids, officers started wearing body cameras. The department launched a bias-free policing policy and a youth interaction policy. Grand Rapids also received an elite accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, which Rahinsky called the 'gold standard' for law enforcement.
“All the success that we’ve enjoyed is truly been collaboration and collective victories, so I want to thank the people who have helped me along my way,’’ Rahinsky said.
Law enforcement is in Rahinsky's bloodline. His father is a retired police officer and his son works as an officer in southern Florida. Rahinsky's career has taken him to Pennsylvania, Florida, Tennessee and Michigan.
“This is the fourth state I’ve worked in and I’ve never worked among men and women more professional, more compassionate than I have here in Grand Rapids,'' he said.
Rahinsky said he is proud of the way officers have interacted with city residents and gained their trust. "We've become more transparent, we’ve become more accountable, more approachable,'' he said.
City Manager Mark Washington said a search firm will be hired to help find Rahinsky's replacement. He said he hopes to have a replacement named by the summer.
Rahinsky became police chief in Grand Rapids in July of 2014 and has been in law enforcement for 32 years. Eighteen of those years were spent with the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Florida.
Although his last official day will be Feb. 5, 2019, Rahinsky plans to take time off during the holidays. His last day in office will be Dec. 18.
“I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life,’’ Rahinsky said.
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