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10.31.19 – Eric Payne and Scott Rifenberg
October 31, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Eric Payne began his tenure as Police Chief on July 22, 2019. With more than 30 years of experience with the Grand Rapids Police Department, Chief Payne remains focused on the priority areas of safety, community policing, transparency, staffing and training.
Chief Payne grew up in Dowagiac, Michigan. He attended Grand Valley State University (GVSU), earning a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. He worked as a police officer for GVSU until he joined the Grand Rapids Police Department in September 1987. He is a graduate of the department’s Leadership Institute and has received advanced leadership training from the Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Institute and the Leadership Institute for Police Executives and New Chiefs.
Throughout his tenure with the department, Chief Payne has served on Patrol, in the Vice Unit and as a member of the Detective Unit’s Major Case Team. He has served as a Patrol Watch Commander and as the Administrative Lieutenant for the South Service Area. As a Captain, Chief Payne was Commander of the South Service Area and then the Investigative Division, which includes the Detective, Vice and Forensic Services units. In September 2017, Chief Payne was promoted to Deputy Police Chief of Operations, overseeing the Patrol Division, Special Response Team, Traffic Unit and Office of Special Events. Chief Payne has been a member of the department’s Crisis Negotiation Team since 1992. He served as its commander from 2010 to 2018.
Chief Payne and his wife, Jessica (a former Sergeant with the department), have two children.
Scott Rifenberg was born in Holland and raised in Grand Rapids. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Deputy Chief Rifenberg began his career with the GRPD in 1996, serving on patrol in the West and South Service Areas, as well as spending six years with the Special Response Team (SRT). In September 2003, he was assigned to an acting Sergeant role and served the Southwest Service Area. After his promotion to Sergeant in August 2004 he held assignments in the South and East Service Areas, as well as the Vice Unit and SRT. In January 2014 he was assigned as a Watch Commander in an acting Lieutenant role. He was officially promoted to Lieutenant in November 2014 and assigned to command the SRT. Upon being promoted to Captain in July 2016, he commanded the newly formed Central Service Area.
His additional duties throughout his career have included Field Training Officer (FTO), Firearms Instructor and Use of Force Instructor. He is a graduate of the department’s Leadership Institute and was nominated for Officer of the Year in 2000 and 2007. Throughout his career Deputy Chief Rifenberg has been awarded a Commendation Award, four Team Performance Awards, an Achievement Award, three Meritorious Unit Citations, a Chief’s Citation, and several Letters of Recognition. Deputy Chief Rifenberg and his wife, Shannon, have three daughters.