COOLIDGE — Police Chief Jim Malinski will retire early in November, City Manager Rick Miller announced in a written statement released Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m sad to see him go, but I’m very happy for him,” Miller said. “I wish him all the success and happiness in retirement. I just think he’s a great man and we’ve been honored to have him as our Chief of Police here in Coolidge.
In a memo sent to the city manager, Malinski cited a desire to care for his elderly parents as the primary reason for his decision to retire.
“I am very proud of the Coolidge Police Department and what it has become during my tenure as Commander and then Chief of Police,” he wrote. “The men and women (sworn and civilian) of the department have strong work ethics, are skilled police employees and they share a common vision for the continued safety and security of the Coolidge Community.”
Malinski was hired by the Coolidge Police Department as a lieutenant in 2010, before the title was switched to commander as a result of a change in the rankings used by the department. Following the resignation of his predecessor Joe Brugman, he was then appointed to take over as head of the department in 2014.
Before his employment in Coolidge, Malinski served as a lieutenant with the Chandler Police Department. He will be retiring after 35 years in the public safety sector.
“I have fond memories of many years spent at my previous agency, but my nearly nine years with the Coolidge Police Department have been the most rewarding of my law enforcement career,” he said in a public letter released to PinalCentral.
Although his final day working for the city will be Nov. 8, Malinski will continue to be employed as police chief until his accrued vacation time runs out.
While Malinski uses up his vacation time, Cmdr. Harry Grizzle will be acting police chief. Grizzle will then be designated interim police chief once Malinski’s leave runs out.
“We’ve got a great group of men and women in the Police Department, and I really think we are headed in the right direction,” Miller said. “And a lot of that direction has been laid out by Chief Malinski and prior to him Joe Brugman.”
However, city officials said it’s currently unclear how they will go about filling the position once it becomes open.
The city, Miller said, has two options — to recruit for the position internally or to open the position up for internal and external applications.
“My personal feeling is that any time you have people on staff that can fill the role of a chief, I’d like to use those people,” Miller said. “They already know the community, they know the staff — they know everybody. But we may end up going out and making whoever it is that wants to compete for it compete for it.”
Under the city’s most recent update to the Personnel Policies and Procedures Handbook, the new police chief would be required to live within the city limits, he noted.
The hope, Miller said, is to find a candidate with a strong vision and an ability to connect with the community — a sentiment Malinski echoed.
“I am hopeful that the next chief will build on the platform of changes and direction our department has initiated, and take it to even greater heights,” he said.