Belk: GRPD chief should have ‘integrity’

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The applicant pool to become the next Grand Rapids chief of police is closed, but it’s still expected to be about two months before a new chief is chosen.

Chief Kevin Belk officially retired at the beginning of February, but has been serving as the interim chief while the city searches for his replacement. He was honored Wednesday night at a farewell dinner and roast.

Outgoing GRPD Chief Kevin Belk receives a standing ovation at an event to honor him. (April 30, 2014)
(Outgoing GRPD Chief Kevin Belk receives a standing ovation at an event to honor him. April 30, 2014)

Wednesday also marked the deadline to submit an application. City Manager Greg Sundstrom said he has received a strong number of applications from across the county. There are eight applicants from the Grand Rapids area, including some from within the department.

“I’m excited right now. Of course, I haven’t seen any of the resumes. I hope I will continue to be excited, but I’m fairly confident we’ll find a strong police chief to replace Chief Kevin Belk,” he said.

So what qualities does Belk think are necessary in the person who will fill his shoes?

“Certainly integrity,” he said. “You got to have someone who is community minded, who loves people, and someone who can handle the pressures of the job and willing to make hard choices.”

Over the next month, a consultant will present the selection committee the best eight applicants. The committee will choose the top three.

In June, the public will get to meet the three finalists, ask questions and voice their opinion. Those comments will be taken into consideration before the city manager makes the final decision.

“I would be thrilled to have a female or a person of color to be our next chief. I would absolutely love it,” Sundstrom said. “But I’m going to select the best and that’s what we need here in Grand Rapids.”

Sundstrom hopes to have a new chief selected by July 1.

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