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These are the three candidates for GRPD's next chief

The nationwide recruitment for Grand Rapids’ next police chief began last fall and garnered interest from 35 law enforcement professionals from across the country.
Credit: City of Grand Rapids
Battle Creek Chief of Police Jim Blocker, retired Milwaukee Police Inspector Jutiki Jackson and Chicago Police Commander Eric Winstrom are three candidates announced in the search for a new GRPD Chief.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The candidates in the search for Grand Rapids’ next police chief were announced Wednesday by City Manager Mark Washington.

The three candidates are from Battle Creek, Milwaukee and Chicago. Community members will be able to meet them on Wednesday, Jan. 19 in the 9th Floor City Commission Chambers in City Hall.

RELATED: Grand Rapids Police Chief search includes $32,000 budget and hope for large community input

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the candidates are expected to give brief remarks and answer questions from community members. Questions can be asked in-person, over a chat feature on the city's livestreams or by submitting a question by Jan. 17 on this website.

In August 2021, Chief Eric Payne announced his retirement after more than 30 years with the department and 2 1/2 years as the city's top cop. Grand Rapids says 35 law enforcement professionals expressed interest in the job.

From the list of 35, a final three candidates have been selected. Here's a look at the candidates: 

Jim Blocker, Chief of Police — Battle Creek, Mich. 

Chief Blocker is the 18th Chief of Police for the Battle Creek Police Department. Chief Blocker served within the Battle Creek Police Department for 25 years in various capacities: patrol officer, community police officer, member of the SWAT team, detective and executive officer.

Check out his resume here.

Jutiki Jackson, Police Inspector (ret.) — Milwaukee, Wis. 

Jackson had a 26-year policing career with the Milwaukee Police Department. He spent ten years as a police officer before being promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain as a 7th District Commander. Jackson was promoted to inspector in 2016 and became a member of the police chief’s executive command team.  

Check out his resume here. 

Eric Winstrom, Police Commander — Chicago, Ill. 

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

Once the public has a chance to meet the candidates, they will be able to share their thoughts via a web survey. The survey will go live following the forum and be available for comment through 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26. 

“These finalists have proven senior executive law enforcement experience and reflect the community’s desired qualities,” Washington said. “They are outstanding leaders that have devoted their careers to keeping communities safe while demonstrating a commitment to collaboration, accountability, transparency, and building trust with the community.

“I look forward to community members meeting the finalists on January 19 and asking questions that are important to them.”

You can learn more about each candidate here.

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