Blocker named new BCPD chief

Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker (July 3, 2014)

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Battle Creek has a new police chief.

Thursday morning, city officials announced that Jim Blocker has been named the Battle Creek Police Department’s top cop.

Blocker — a detective who served as interim chief since former Chief Jackie Hampton retired in late February — has been with the department since 1997. His tenure as chief begins immediately.

“I have too few people doing too many things,” Blocker told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday. “We’ve got a lot of quantity going, but not so much quality.”

Blocker said he wants to find the right balance between people and technology — the two most expensive things that compete for the department’s money.

Blocker said he believes the department is too thin on commanders and needs to find better ways to reach out to the community. But before he asks for more staff, he’s going to try making things better by changing how the department is structured.

And he wants to use new technology to bring officers and citizens closer.

“I can’t have people working in the communities, but I can provide tools on the Internet and apps on your phone that you can reach out and talk to that officer,” he said.

He said he won’t make any sudden changes. Rather, there will be gradual moves like creating a crime analysis team that will be able to point out where officers can do the most good.

“We have investigators and we have patrolmen, but who do we have that’s going to bring all that intelligence together to formulate an accurate picture of where crimes are trending?” Blocker said.

The new chief said in a year or year and a half, he’ll be able to see what is working and what isn’t as he rebuilds the department.

Battle Creek Interim City Manager Sue Bedsole said in a release Blocker is the best fit for the department and the community.

“He has shown over the past several months he has the skill set, motivation and knowledge to lead the Police Department forward,” she said. “He has shown he possesses the qualities necessary to lead the department in a positive direction and to maximize the talents of its employees.”

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