Font size: +

Longtime Muskegon Heights police official in line for chief's job

Muskegon Chronicle,
BYLINE: Eric Gaertner, Muskegon Chronicle

Muskegon Heights, MI

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS -- Lt. Lynne Gill, who has filled in as chief several times during his nearly 20 years working for the Police Department, is set to move into the police chief's position on a permanent basis.

Gill, 51, was selected by city council members as the leading candidate to become the city's next permanent chief, a role that has been vacant since Clifton Johnson died unexpectedly Nov. 1. On Monday, the council directed City Manager Natasha Henderson to begin negotiations with Gill for the job.

"It would be the culmination of my career," said Gill, who was wearing a large smile while receiving congratulations from residents outside the council chambers.

Mayor Darrell Paige said Gill has the qualities and local knowledge that make him ready to be the next police chief.

"Lt. Gill has a good pulse on the city," Paige said. "He knows a lot of the citizens and they trust him. He's the next one in line to take us forward."

Johnson's death created an unexpected void at the police department. Gill initially became acting chief, but city officials decided not to hire a permanent chief at the time because of budgetary concerns. City officials were attempting to cut costs to meet the first year's goal for removing a $600,000-plus budget deficit.

City officials hired an interim police chief, former Muskegon Heights Police Lt. Ronald Rake, rather than a permanent replacement, expecting to save about $60,000.

The decision to begin negotiations with Gill comes at a time when Michigan State Police, alerted by the Muskegon Heights interim chief, are investigating allegations of money missing from the department's property room.

State Police Detective Lt. Curt Schram said Wednesday that investigators have no reason to believe Gill had anything to do with that.

"At this point, we do not believe the former Acting Chief Ron Rake or current Acting Chief Lt. Lynne Gill are involved in the disappearance of the missing monies," Schram said.

Rake, whose concerns launched the State Police investigation, said he resigned as interim chief in late April. "Politically, it was something I didn't want to deal with," Rake said.

City Manager Natasha Henderson said Wednesday that the interim position was intended to last three to six months, and Rake was in the job for about five months.

Paige said the interim time between permanent chiefs was intended to save money and it provided an opportunity for council members to talk with and consider Gill as the potential permanent chief. It also allowed Gill a chance to consider taking the job, Paige said.

Gill, who is set to reach 20 years of service to the Muskegon Heights Police Department in July, said he would work to continue Johnson's mission to "make the city a better and safer place for all of us."

E-mail Eric Gaertner:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
International Association for Property and Evidence
"Law Enforcement Serving the Needs of Law Enforcement"
State Police investigating Heights police dept.
Most weapons stolen from Harvey shooting range rec...

Search IAPE

Blotter - Latest News

This login form is for IAPE Staff ONLY!