LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — Christopher Hurst was appointed to Lowell’s police chief position Monday after the previous chief resigned following a controversial Facebook post.
“Never in my wildest dreams thought about being a police officer, never thought I would be here,” Hurst said.
He says being chief wasn’t in his plans. But once the role opened, he decided he needed to step up.
Hurst grew up near Reed City. He joined the National Guard and became a paramedic.
He says his wife encouraged him to go back to school and become a police officer. He then landed in the Lowell Police Department. He has been with the department for 25 years and now will lead it.
News 8 asked what made him apply for the job.
“All the craziness that’s going on in this world. Not just in our area, but all over the place with people talking about defunding the police, riots, marches and protests. The guys (police officers) are already under a lot of stress. And to bring in somebody new to the department I thought wouldn’t be a good idea because of what’s going on right now,” Hurst said.
The previous chief, Steve Bukala was forced to resign from the position last month because of a Facebook post showing a group of armed men.
The post started with “These fine men called me today” and went on to say that the men offered to patrol downtown Lowell to protect the city from rioters like the ones who caused damage in Grand Rapids. Bukala thanked the men in his post.
Some felt the post was racist. The city removed the post and apologized.
Hurst refused to comment on the post.
News 8 asked how Hurst can ensure the citizens that the Lowell Police Department will be racially unbiased.
“That’s just how we operate,” replied Hurst. “I don’t think we’ve ever had an incident where we have had a racially charged situation. Our policies don’t allow for it.”
He says everyone has to abide by the same laws.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, literally we have had to write council members tickets before,” he added.
Hurst wants to focus on more training and bringing back the citizen’s academy. As for his leadership style, he says it won’t be a dictatorship. Instead, it will be a collaboration.
“I’m approachable. My door is always open. If you want to talk to me, you can come in. I’ll come to you,” he said.
Hurst says he plans to stay in the chief role until he retires.