GRPD chief named to Michigan police standards board

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department has been appointed to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that Chief Eric Payne would fill a vacancy on the board, which sets standards for licensing and funding police in Michigan.

Representing the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Payne’s term will run through Dec. 31, 2021.

Payne has worked at GRPD for more than 30 years and became chief last year. He inherited a department being investigated by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights after public outcry over several incidents involving minority residents and children.

This year, amid a national call for police reform, Payne is compiling a three-year strategic plan that he says will focus on racial equity and community policing.

Also appointed to MCOLES Friday to represent the people of Michigan were Detroit Pastor Tellis Chapman, Flint Pastor Jeffery Hawkins and university professor Lisa Jackson of Ypsilanti.

“By bringing more diverse voices together, we can enact important changes to police procedures and build a more equitable state,” Whitmer said in a statement announcing the appointments. “Having community leaders and the director of the Department of Civil Rights on this commission will help us ensure we’re enacting reforms to ensure everyone, no matter who they are, is treated fairly under the law. I look forward to working with this group and with everyone else who wants to build a more just, equitable Michigan.” 

The state Senate will have to confirm the nominees.