TR Police using search firm to assist in hiring of new police chief

Police Chief Bringman to retire in November after 47 years

THREE RIVERS — Three Rivers will be on the lookout for a new police chief, and has hired a search firm to assist in the process.

According to a press release issued Tuesday, the CAUTION Group, based in Southgate, Mich., announced it would be working with the city to conduct its search for the new chief.

The move comes as city officials indicated Police Chief Tom Bringman has decided to retire in November after 47 years with the department and 14 as chief. The city posted the position Sept. 10, with an Oct. 15 deadline to apply for the position.

The CAUTION Group, according to their website, is a consulting firm for law enforcement agencies with a focus on departments with 50 or fewer officers. Its main goal is to “provide practical and no-nonsense information on current hot topics or remedial education, if needed, to police officers of every rank in an effort to help provide Constitutional policing and garner support from the community.”

According to the release, the consulting company will work with the city’s human resources staff to gather and screen applicants. Following that, candidates would then be presented to the city, which will lead to interviews with a panel comprised of members of the community. City Manager Joe Bippus is then expected to receive “critical feedback” from the panelists, allowing him to make the official appointment, which is expected to take place in early December.

“We certainly are excited for Chief Bringman on a well-earned retirement and thank him for his dedicated service to this profession,” Bippus said in a statement.

City Finance Director Cathy Lawson said in an interview Thursday the city was not considering using a search firm for the position until they were contacted by CAUTION Group themselves.

“They’re relatively new to this market, so they’re looking for clients. We met with them, we talked about everything and decided to go with them,” Lawson said. “With the job market being so tight, we figured any help that we could get to find the appropriate candidate that we’re hiring was to our benefit.”

Lawson said the firm offered their services for the search in exchange for not money, but what Lawson said was “an honest opinion of their services.”

“This isn’t going to cost the city anything; because they’re a startup firm, they’re doing this for the city in exchange for an honest opinion of their services so they can basically build their portfolio,” Lawson said. “The only thing we’re going to do is host an online training that’s going to be sent out to various local municipalities and do an online training for them.”

In an interview earlier this month, Bippus said they expect internal candidates to apply as well as external candidates, and are looking for a number of qualities in any candidate they look at for the position.

“We’re looking for a quality individual who has a good knowledge of the laws in the state, has understanding of maintaining a professional police department because we want to keep the high standards we have in Three Rivers,” Bippus said. “We’re looking for someone who understands the need to work with people in the community and be involved, because there are so many different organizations in the community that use and rely on the police department.”

Those interested in applying for the position are asked to visit

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

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