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Grand Rapids names new police chief

After months of searching and vetting candidates, Eric Winstrom has been named as the new police chief.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — City Manager Mark Washington has selected Eric Winstrom as the new police chief for the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Winstrom served in the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for over twenty years in various patrol, tactical, investigative, and administrative positions. He was currently working as an executive on the CPD Leadership Team and led the Area 5 Detective Division where he oversaw a staff of 200, including 40 homicide detectives.

The decision was made nearly three months after the search for a new police chief started in mid-November of 2021.

Winstrom is expected to begin his work leading the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) on Mar. 7, replacing Police Chief Eric Payne who will retire from the department Mar. 4.

Winstrom was selected from a short list of three candidates by Washington after a community engagement period in January.

RELATED: These are the three candidates for GRPD's next chief

“The City is fortunate to hire someone as qualified and talented as Eric Winstrom to serve as our next police chief who is a certified law enforcement officer and attorney. I look forward to working with him to continue to advance policing and to continue our journey to strengthen trust between the community and our police department,” Washington said in a statement Tuesday.

Washington said he also carefully considered opinions gathered from the community interview panels and the more than 600 comments from participants who completed the community survey before ultimately making his decision. 

“I am thankful for the hundreds of members of the community that took the time to provide feedback, as well as elevate their questions and concerns with each candidate," Washington added. "I used that input to directly discuss areas of community concerns with Commander Winstrom prior to selecting him and it only solidified my belief that he is the ideal candidate to help us achieve the goals we’ve established for the department and the community.”

Winstrom said he is eager to begin the next stage of his career leading the GRPD and to continue the department’s commitment to community policing.

“I am prepared to bring my significant experience in leadership and organizational improvement, tireless work ethic, high-energy and knowledge to lead the Grand Rapids Police Department," Winstrom said on Tuesday. "I am very optimistic that we can work together to make the city a safer place and become the most trusted police department in the country."

Winstrom said the success he had as a commander in Chicago came through working tirelessly to build relationships with individuals and community groups who both backed and challenged the department.

“I have a great appreciation for Grand Rapids. My wife, my eight- and ten-year-olds and I are excited about relocating to West Michigan," Winstrom said about moving his family to Grand Rapids.

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