WYOMING, Mich. - Long-time Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody will officially step down today, paving the way for Captain Kim Koster to be the new head of the department.

After more than four decades in law enforcement, Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody is leaving some pretty big shoes to fill. But, Koster, and those who know her, believe there's no one better suited to step into that role.

"Capt. Koster has been an exceptional officer and instrumental member of our public safety team, and I am fully confident she will soar in this new role," said Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt. "She has gone above and beyond in her various positions, and I believe is a role model and trusted figure for our residents.

"We look forward to seeing her future accomplishments as she leads our public safety team in its ongoing mission to protect and to serve our community."

Koster got unanimous support, earlier this month, from the Wyoming City Council to replace Carmody as public safety director. She, herself, has more than 20 years on the job and has earned many commendations along the way.

Koster began her career in Wyoming, a community she has continued to serve.

"Having been, kind of, behind a desk for the last seven years, I'm anxious to get back out into the community. When I first started this job, I was a community policing officer and a school resource officer," she said. "So, I get to return to some of those relationships and some of that community oriented type of policing where I get to go out and meet with the public and form relationships. I'm looking forward to that."

Koster rose to the rank of captain in 2010. She credits Carmody and his leadership for helping guide her career and those of many others in the department.

"He's been an amazing mentor over the last 12 years and specifically over the last 7 for me. I can't tell you what it's meant to be able to watch him and to learn from him," she said. "He's been recognized statewide. He's been recognized nationally.

"He is just an incredibly intelligent, strong, moral leader who just provided a lot of insight to me and taught me a lot about leadership."

Koster expects the transition of leadership to be "pretty smooth." There will undoubtedly be some differences in leadership style, but doesn't see a lot of changes that need to be made.

"Chief Carmody set us on a course 12 years ago when he came here and he really has us going on a good direction," she said. "I have no big changes planned. We do have some organizational and structural things to take care of, in terms of possibly some promotions and things like that."

Koster's own promotion makes her the first woman police chief in the City of Wyoming. It is a role she is honored to have, but one she seems reluctant to assign too much significance to. Koster believes Kent County is full of good leaders, of both genders, and sites Kent County Undersheriff Michelle Young and Grand Rapids Community College Police Chief Rebecca Whitman as examples of women who she has modeled her career after.

"I have mentors both men and women throughout my career that I have greatly appreciated. And, for sure the women that have come before me in these positions, I look up to them, have found them to be an inspiration and took pieces from them," said Koster. "I appreciate what they have brought to the table and acknowledge that."

The incoming director of public safety will lead a department of 86 officers and 29 full-time fire fighters. Her swearing-in ceremony will be held Wednesday, April 26.

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