Brandon DeHaan steps in as GVPD acting director

By Emily Doran | 10/15/17 10:06pm

GVL / Spencer Scarber Grand Valley State Emergency operator (name redacted) performing daily tasks at Grand Valley Police Department disbatch center on October 3rd, 2017

Following Renee Freeman’s recent retirement as the Grand Valley State University Police Department chief, Acting Director Brandon DeHaan is stepping in to run the department until an individual is selected to fill the position permanently.

D. Scott Richardson, acting vice president for finance and administration at GVSU, anticipates that a search for a new chief will begin in January 2018. Both internal and external candidates will be considered.

“There won’t be any rush to do a search, but we’ll certainly do a search when it’s time to refill the job and hire a new chief, just like we normally do with any vacancy,” he said.

Richardson said whoever is hired as the new chief will have to be skilled in both police work and community relations.

“All of the things that the previous chief was in charge of and had us in really good shape need to continue,” he said. “The people who live in our housing ought to view campus police as their allies, as people who are there to make their life secure and good, so it’s not all just about enforcement: It’s about having the kind of force that does things the right way.”

In the meantime, both Richardson and DeHaan are confident that the department’s staff will continue to perform their jobs well.

“I’m very confident in the individuals working at this department to provide the services necessary for our community,” DeHaan said. “We’ve got good people here. We are (going to) continue to serve our community.”

Richardson anticipates that any short-term restructuring in the department will be minimal. 

“I think in the short term there’ll be a little bit of restructuring just to cover all the jobs that need to get done as Brandon moves up, but I don’t think overall,” he said. “One of the things that we’re going to take a look at is really what’s a best structure for the future. 

Like everything we do here, we have limited resources and we want to do more than we have funding for, so … what’s the best organization we can have to do that efficiently and hopefully wind up with some funds that we can redirect into community police officer kind of work so students really know that they’re safe out here.”

Until a new chief is selected, Richardson is confident in DeHaan’s abilities to hold down the fort.

“Certainly, the president (of GVSU) and I have lots of confidence in Brandon to step in and be acting chief,” he said. “He did an exceptional job (when he did this previously), so we got complete confidence that we aren’t going to miss a step, we’re going to keep moving forward and this is going to be as safe a place as it ever could be, ever was, under his leadership.”

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