GRPD chief retires
Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk has announced he is retiring on Feb. 7, after nearly 34 years of service to Grand Rapids as a member of the force.
Belk was selected to become the acting police chief when former chief Harry Dolan retired in 2007. Belk was selected from a field of three finalists in 2008 to become chief and has since served in that capacity.
“Chief Belk has served in the Grand Rapids Police Department with honor and integrity,” said Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom. “His exceptional leadership has led the transformation of the department into a highly respected and professional department. Chief Belk’s administrative skills have made the Grand Rapids Police Department’s service delivery efficient, while maintaining effective outcomes. The department is recognized as one of the top departments in the nation, and for this, we owe Chief Belk a debt of gratitude.”
Sundstrom has asked Belk to continue as transitional chief while the search begins for a new chief.
Mayor George Heartwell said Belk “is leaving Grand Rapids a safer place. He has successfully integrated community policing into the fabric of the Grand Rapids Police Department’s services. This legacy deserves the respect of our entire community.”
Rising through the ranks
Belk joined the department in 1980 as a patrol officer and became an investigator in 1982, according to Sundstrom. Belk was promoted to police sergeant in 1988 and was assigned to a patrol service area.
In 1989, he became the investigative supervisor, overseeing the general case team. The team investigates property crimes, including burglary, auto theft, larceny and financial crimes.
Another promotion was awarded to Belk in 1993 when he became a lieutenant and was assigned as the deputy commander of the Detective Unit. During this time, he developed a successful Juvenile Habitual Offender program.
In 1996, Belk was promoted to captain and served as commander of the investigative division through 2003, overseeing a staff of 80 investigating all criminal activity in the city. His role included management of the Detective Unit, Drugs and Vice Unit and the Forensic Services Unit.
Then, in 2003, as commander of the Support Services Division, he headed the support functions of the Police Department’s Communications Unit, information technology, property management, Special Services, records, training bureau, special events and more.
Belk obtained a criminal justice degree from Grand Rapids Community College in 1979 and attended Grand Valley State University’s Police Academy that same year.
He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. and graduated summa cum laude from GVSU in 2000, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Belk has served the community in other capacities, as well, serving on various boards: the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth, Children’s Assessment Center, Salvation Army Advisory Board, Kent ISD Criminal Justice Program Advisor, Kent County Dispatch Authority, Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority-Law Enforcement Advisor, NorthPointe Christian Schools, Mel Trotter Ministries Capital Campaign and the Kent County Child Death Review Team.
He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Executive Research Forum.