Grandville’s new police chief looks to future

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Paul Anglim has seen a lot of change in his journey from rookie police officer in his Upper Peninsula hometown to the chief’s job in Grandville.

These days, even small departments are facing some real-world threats. Active shooter training is one example. Officers in local departments have trained for years for active-shooter situations. Now, departments like Grandville are passing on some of that knowledge to the community.

“We have started to do some community outreach. We are teaching the civilian response to active-shooter events,” Anglim told News 8 Tuesday. “Even though you live in a great neighborhood, or a great city, you just need to be a little more aware of what’s going on around you and take the simple steps to protect yourself. “

That community outreach is something Anglim plans to expand as he takes over as chief in Grandville.

Currently Grandville’s deputy police chief, the City Council on Monday named him to replace Chief Dan Steere, who retires Wednesday after 38 years in law enforcement.

Anglim began his career in law enforcement in 1983 in Gladstone in the U.P. He eventually moved south for a job with the Wyoming Department of Public Safety, where he spent 27 years. He was hired as Grandville’s’ deputy chief in 2012, the same near Steere became chief.

The city of just under 16,000 people presents some unique challenges for police. One of those issues is social media. Pages like Facebook and apps like Nextdoor can provide valuable information, but they are not a good alternative to picking up the phone and calling 911.

“We’re trying to get people to be comfortable to report it to us first so we have a much better chance to be able to investigate it when it’s fresh … versus having to find out about it two to three days later through a social media post,” Anglim said.

Along with the typical residential neighborhoods and downtown business district, Grandville is home to RiverTown Crossings mall. Anglim compares the challenges at the mall to a fall Saturday in Ann Arbor.

“Putting it in perspective, the Big House seats about 110,000 people and on game day, they probably bring in something close to 100 police officers,” Anglim said. “Just imagine the mall on Black Friday. And our department size is not 100 sworn officers.”

But Grandville has some advantages over other communities. As many larger departments grapple with creating community policing units as a way to get closer to citizens, it has always been a part of Grandville PD’s DNA.

“Here, we are a true community policing agency,” Anglim said. “When we hire a new officer, we explain to them that if you really like the Fourth of July, this may not be the agency for you, because all of us are out here on that day, because it is such a large community event and we need to support that.”