As 2023 begins, Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker will retire, and current Deputy Chief Shannon Bagley will step up as interim chief.
Blocker has served as chief for about 8.5 years, since July of 2014; he served as interim chief from February to July 2014 while the city conducted a search, and was sworn in July 16. He has served with the BCPD for 26 years, since 1997, in a variety of roles. Blocker also is a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, has served multiple tours and received multiple awards, and will continue in that service.
“Chief Blocker was very welcoming, and we shared the priority of relationship building,” said City Manager Rebecca Fleury, who joined the city in October 2014. “Even in the most difficult situations, he never wavered from his commitment to integrity, transparency, and open and honest dialogue.
“I can say with 100% certainty that he made a tremendous, positive impact on the Battle Creek Police Department, and is leaving it a better place than when he started.”
Blocker called it an “incredible experience” to both start and finish his policing career in Battle Creek.
“The community has supported the BCPD – and me – in extraordinary ways,” Blocker said. “In looking back at the goals of improving BCPD morale; improving training, equipment, communications, and facilities; establishing partnerships with community organizations; and community outreach – with the support of the City Manager, City Commission, and one of the best staffs a chief could ask for, we hit the mark.
“There is much more to do, and I can think of no one better in the region – who is prepared to continue and improve BCPD and community relations – than Shannon Bagley.”
Bagley will serve as interim for six months, giving him and the city the chance to see if the role is a good fit. At that time, the City Manager will determine if he is ready to assume the chief role permanently. If not, the city will begin a national search.
Bagley joined the BCPD as Investigations Deputy Chief in September 2021. He was a captain with the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Public Safety Department, and retired from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety in 2018, after 25 years with that department. He graduated from the KVCC Police Academy, has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from KVCC, and a bachelor’s degree in organization and resource management from Spring Arbor University.
“It has been my honor serving this community, and working with the outstanding women and men of this department and city,” Bagley said. “The City of Battle Creek is exceptional, and this community is so special because of the people who live and work here. It has been a pleasure meeting neighbors and building relationships throughout the city, and I look forward to continuing those efforts.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as your interim chief. The BCPD is in an exceptional position, a direct result of the extraordinary leadership, hard work, and vision of Chief Jim Blocker. His commitment and service to this community is unmatched, and it has been an honor to work with him. I look forward to continuing our department’s work in the community, alongside our incredible BCPD team.”
Bagley will lead the department through a major technology and software upgrade, a continued focus on community policing, discussions on the potential for a Citizens Review Board to involve the community more in police issues, and in receiving the results of the ongoing Center for Public Safety Management study.
Deputy Chief Troy Gilleylen will continue to serve as the BCPD’s Patrol Deputy Chief. He was promoted to that position also in September 2021, and has served with the BCPD for 24 years in various roles.
“Both men have done a tremendous job since stepping into their roles,” Fleury said of Bagley and Gilleylen. “I always believed one of them would become the next chief. Shannon Bagley has a strong background in law enforcement and exceptional leadership skills. Like Chief Blocker, he understands the importance of relationship building inside and outside the organization.”
Lt. Steve Bush will now lead the investigations side of the department. Bagley will step into the chief position starting Jan. 15, 2023, and Blocker’s retirement begins Jan. 31.