GR Police Chief agrees with city manager in firing officers over handling of crash

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky says he has recommended the city fire three officers accused of letting an assistant prosecutor off the hook for drunk driving.

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky (file photo)

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky (file photo)

Sources close to the investigation confirmed Monday that Sgt. Thomas Warwick, Lt. Michael Janiskee and Officer Adam Ickes were suspended without pay in connection to their handling of a reported drunk driving crash involving Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Josh Kuiper.

Officials say he was driving the wrong way on Union Avenue and hit a parked car Nov. 19, injuring somebody who was getting something out of it.

Police say Kuiper admitted to consuming alcohol before driving, but he only received a ticket before being escorted to a relative's home. He was not arrested at the scene.

Rahinsky says that the officers will get due process before being let go. No further action will be taken until a termination hearing takes place. No date for that hearing has been set.

The city manager of Grand Rapids, Greg Sundstrom, made his decision to fire the officers last week.

"My decision is not a recommendation. It was made public last week," said Sundstrom.

Sundstrom said he does not take these decisions lightly.

"We are talking about someone's life and a family. So I spend a considerable amount of time trying to understand the facts and trying to reach a decision," said Sundstrom.

According to the Grand Rapids City Charter, the police officers have a right to a hearing.

"After the hearing, a recommendation is made back to me whether the person should truly be terminated or whether they should have a lesser punishment," said Sundstrom.

The police officers are part of a union and by their contract they have a whole other process that they can use to air grievances.

"I think we have a process that tries to afford every bit of due process to our employees to give them every opportunity to explain behaviors," said Sundstrom.

The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing a GRPD internal investigation and Michigan State Police investigation into the crash to determine if criminal charges should be filed.

Kuiper submitted his resignation in December and it will take effect Feb. 1, according to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutor Chris Becker said Jan. 6 that Kuiper would not be working out of the office leading up to when his resignation takes effect.

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14 comments

    • Bob

      Wow, Steve. Sure hope YOU never make a simple mistake that gets you fired, regardless of how stellar your record may have been beforehand. I guess maybe the rest of us has superior intelligence to your “normal”.

      • steve

        Bob, let me say it in a way you might understand. The reaction of the department is largely a political one. In case you hadn’t noticed, cops aren’t viewed with the greatest respect by some in the community, and to treat them with anything less that firing might be additional fuel for possible unrest in the future. And by the way, there’s no way this was a simple mistake. It was serious, and the cops knew it.

          • MakeItFair

            Obviously, they caused one big problem for the victim of this crime. It shouldn’t matter what type of person you are, if you break the law, you have to be held accountable for your actions.

          • Suzi

            Bob, that such an uncalled for racist comment. Didn’t your momma treat you better than that. This is why the European got rid of people like you. They knew if they allowed you to stay that you would be worst than the negroes that you you talk so bad about.
            As the bible states
            “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
            Be careful what you say with you dumb zzz remarks. A hole.

  • Simple

    I think it sad that these seasoned officers have to lose there jobs. I’m sure they were good at them.
    But anything less than being fired, would send the wrong message.
    Nobody is above the law. If you work in law enforcement, or as a court offical.
    That don’t give you specail rights. Anything less would be abuse of power.

  • Frank

    You people who are agreeing to this decision are ones without all the information. Why don’t you base your decision and your comments on real facts other than what the media portrays. This is nothing other than the shitty Chief of police and city manager being politically correct and having no loyalty to their employees. Removing 3 extremely good veteran cops from duty who have put their lives on the line each night to protect the same people going after them. It is disgusting and wrong. Nothing illegal was done in this situation. The same group that is prosecuting is the same group the driver worked for….there is way more to this story than what you hear and what information you are given.

    • Old Bob

      We need a new chief of police. The city made a mistake when they hired David Rahinsky and they should have correct that mistake by now. He is nothing more than a puppet. One would think a city the size of Grand Rapids could have done better.

      David Rahinsky job is to protect the people in the City Grand Rapids, not suck up to a small sub group of people who either commit the crimes or support those who commit the crimes in the city.

      It time for the silent majority to step up and let him know that.

    • Simple

      SO YOU THINK IT WAS OK FOR THIS GUY THAT WAS “DRINKING” AND DROVE INTO PARKED CARS AND HURT SOMEONE, TO JUST GET A TICKET FOR DRIVING THE WRONG WAY ON A ONE WAY STREET? AND IT WAS OK BECAUSE HE WORKED FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT TO DO THIS? IT ISN’T RIGHT NO MATTER HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THE POLICE CHIEF OR THE CITY MANGER. NO ONE SHOULD BE ABOVE THE LAW…NO ONE!

      • Frank

        Boy, all caps really gets your point across….I am pretty sure I never said it was ok for this guy to be drinking and driving. My point is that it is not right for these 3 gentlemen who have done more for our community and protected your family day and night and put their lives on the line to do so because it is what they love, to be fired over this. Reprimand? sure….Fire? Insane. And if you still think firing them for it is right then you must have lived your life thus far without making zero mistakes and zero bad decisions. That is why the chief and city manager are trying to be politically correct.