Hawke selected as GHDPS director

Following dozens of interviews and searching for the right person, city officials have selected Jeff Hawke as the new director of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety.
Alex Doty
Dec 6, 2011

Hawke, 47, was unanimously confirmed Monday night by City Council.

“It feels great,” he said Monday night. “I am excited to work with the staff at the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety.”

Hawke comes to Grand Haven from Cadillac, where he once served as the public safety department director from 2002 to 2010, when he retired. He began working at the Cadillac department in 1986.

“We are excited to come to Grand Haven and become part of your community,” Hawke said.

Hawke will officially begin his new job on Jan. 9, 2012.

Hawke was selected over finalists Curtis VanderKooi, a 56-year-old patrol commander with the Grand Rapids Police Department. The two finalists met with the community during a town hall meeting on Nov. 9.

The city has been searching for a new public safety director since the dismissal of former Director Dennis Edwards in February. Capt. Rick Yonker has temporarily filled the vacancy in the interim.

City Manager Pat McGinnis said there were many applicants who were all capable of doing the job, but Hawke rose to the top due to his relevant experience.

“We were so fortunate to have an outstanding pool of candidates,” McGinnis said.

McGinnis said Hawke was selected in part because of his background in a similar-size community (Cadillac), as well as his background in both firefighting and law enforcement.

“That gave him a bit of an edge,” McGinnis said.

McGinnis said he believes Hawke’s leadership skills will extend beyond the doors of the public safety department.

“I think people will recognize him as a leader in the community,” McGinnis said. “He is a friendly guy.”

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