GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Now in his fifth winter in Michigan, David Rahinsky will admit he nonetheless hasn’t absolutely acclimated to the chilly and lack of ample sunshine. 

However greater than the challenges that include the state’s climate, the Grand Rapids police chief has struggled with being away from the vast majority of his household through the vacation season. 

It is the reasoning that fueled his curiosity in a police chief job in Florida final fall, and it was the driving issue, he says, in his determination to retire from the Grand Rapids Police Division. His retirement might be official on Feb. 8. 

“I’ve at all times gone the place the job alternative was, and my spouse and greatest associate has let me pursue my ambition for the final 13 years as I chased positions in Tennessee and now right here in Grand Rapids,” Rahinsky mentioned.

“After 32 years (in regulation enforcement), it is time for me to be nearer to household.”

Rahinsky notified Metropolis Supervisor Mark Washington of his determination Tuesday, Dec. 4, following a day of metropolis fee conferences. The police chief mentioned he was honored that Washington tried to influence him to remain. 

However with a three-bedroom home bought in Bradenton, Florida, and his spouse, Suzanne, having accepted a job within the space as a labor and supply nurse, Rahinsky mentioned the choice was remaining. 

“It is a chance for her to work and for me to determine the place the following chapter will take me,” he mentioned. “I have been lucky sufficient to steer one of many premiere regulation enforcement departments within the Midwest, if not within the nation. It is time to put household and geography forward of my skilled aspirations.” 

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Grand Rapids police chief to retire

Rahinsky started his regulation enforcement profession in 1987 in his residence metropolis of Philadelphia. He spent 18 years with the Broward County Sheriff’s Workplace in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, earlier than stints as chief and deputy chief in Pembroke Park, Florida, and Franklin, Tennessee. 

He took the reins of the Grand Rapids Police Division in July 2014, changing former chief Kevin Belk. He was the unanimous prime decide by the eight-member choice workforce, based on former metropolis supervisor Greg Sundstrom.

A month later, an 18-year-old African American man named Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The incident sparked protests throughout the nation, and led then-President Barack Obama to create a fee tasked with making broad police reform in america.

“That was my technology’s game-changer for regulation enforcement,” Rahinsky mentioned.

In Grand Rapids, the incident opened the door for larger discussions about enhancing community-police relations.

Rahinsky led the adoption of body-worn cameras for all officers within the police division. Beneath his management, the division underwent research and evaluation by Lamberth Consulting and 21st Century Policing Options with the objective of enhancing community-police relations.

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Following some high-profile handcuffing incidents, a selected youth interplay coverage was developed for the police division. The coverage, which was not too long ago up to date, is designed to restrict comparable incidents like people who occurred in March 2017 and December 2017 when unarmed black youths had been stopped at gunpoint and handcuffed.

The division additionally earned its first Fee on Accreditation for Legislation Enforcement Companies (CALEA) accreditation this yr, putting it within the prime 10 p.c of regulation enforcement businesses. 

“Folks have requested me if I am leaving due to the challenges right here in Grand Rapids,” Rahinsky mentioned. “However that is what drew me right here. I did not come on the lookout for a tender touchdown, I got here to be challenged.”

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Requested how he hopes to be remembered in Grand Rapids, Rahinsky mentioned, “as a chief who was approachable and who acknowledged the significance of group.”

“Generally in regulation enforcement, the policing can take precedent,” he mentioned. “I’ve at all times been delicate to the truth that we’re public servants and the group voice must be the driving voice behind every thing we do. 

“I feel that is been obvious within the route we have moved the division. And I am happy with the women and men I’ve labored for. I’ve by no means labored with finer individuals, and that is the civilians to the assist workers to the crime techs, proper by way of the command workers. I will miss that.”

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This vacation season, Rahinsky will go to his son, granddaughter and in-laws in Florida, and his dad and mom, siblings, nieces and nephews in Georgia. And he’ll achieve this for the primary time in 5 years realizing he would not need to rush again to Michigan. 

His final full day in Grand Rapids might be Tuesday, Dec. 18, however he’ll proceed to help the town in its transition till Feb. 8. 

And he believes the police division is in good fingers.

“Once I acquired right here, we did not have deputy chiefs,” Rahinsky mentioned. “I created two positions and crammed them with individuals with nice caliber and that is served the town properly. I used them as confidants and shared every thing with them. They have been instrumental in every thing we have performed.

“I am extraordinarily assured … the long run is vivid.”

The town supervisor plans to make use of a nationwide search agency to search out Rahinsky’s substitute. He’ll announce a timeline for the search within the close to future and choose somebody to steer the division within the interim. 

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