In-house selection a recipe for success
Rarely does a change atop a key city department occur in turn-key fashion, but that's just what occurred last week with the appointment of Steve Wayman as chief of police.
Former Chief John Simmons put the ball in motion by tendering his resignation. The move prompted a special meeting of the Lansing City Council, which acted quickly and unanimously by approving City Administrator Mike Smith's selection of Wayman as the new chief.
Congratulations are in order for Wayman, a 15-year veteran of the force, on his promotion.
Wayman, a homegrown product, joined the Lansing force in 1990, four years after graduating from Lansing High School. During his tenure he's been an undercover narcotics agent, a patrol officer, patrol sergeant, lieutenant and captain. In 2003, he ran the department for three months while Simmons was training at the FBI National Academy.
From all indications, Wayman has what it takes to run the Police Department, including knowing just about everyone in town.
Congratulations, too, are due for the council and city administration. They recognized that someone within their organization had the ability, experience and knowledge to take over the high-profile department. Rather than throwing the force into a period of limbo, the council hired a known quantity.
Smith explained his rationale for selecting a chief from within the ranks.
"It would have taken four to six months to deal with the process of a search for a new police chief," Smith said. "I like to hire from within if I have the opportunity, and we certainly had the opportunity here."
Lansing has benefited from such action in the past: When the council went looking for a city administrator in 2000, it selected Smith, who had been the city's long-time chief of police. Five years later, few quibble with the decision to elevate him.
Simmons, whose new job is chief of police in Fairway, is to be thanked for his service. But now it's time to settle in with a different chief, a familiar face who is poised to become another homegrown success story.