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Eric Payne began his tenure as Police Chief on July 22, 2019. With more than 30 years of experience with the Grand Rapids Police Department, Chief Payne remains focused on the priority areas of safety, community policing, transparency, staffing and training.
Chief Payne grew up in Dowagiac, Michigan. He attended Grand Valley State University (GVSU), earning a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. He worked as a police officer for GVSU until he joined the Grand Rapids Police Department in September 1987. He is a graduate of the department’s Leadership Institute and has received advanced leadership training from the Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Institute and the Leadership Institute for Police Executives and New Chiefs.
Throughout his tenure with the department, Chief Payne has served on Patrol, in the Vice Unit and as a member of the Detective Unit's Major Case Team. He has served as a Patrol Watch Commander and as the Administrative Lieutenant for the South Service Area. As a Captain, Chief Payne was Commander of the South Service Area and then the Investigative Division, which includes the Detective, Vice and Forensic Services units. In September 2017, Chief Payne was promoted to Deputy Police Chief of Operations, overseeing the Patrol Division, Special Response Team, Traffic Unit and Office of Special Events. Chief Payne has been a member of the department’s Crisis Negotiation Team since 1992. He served as its commander from 2010 to 2018.
Chief Payne and his wife, Jessica (a former Sergeant with the department), have two children.