By Jason Wesseldyk
The City of Plainwell has a new director for its Department of Public Safety.
And city officials didn’t have to look very far to find him.
Kevin Callahan, a Plainwell-area resident since 2010 who previously worked as a paid on-call firefighter with the department, was recently sworn in and is now on the job.
Callahan replaces Bill Bomar, who retired in March after nearly 22 years as director of the PDPS. He was with the department a total of 44 years.
Callahan brings 22 years of law enforcement experience and 24 years of experience as a firefighter to his new role.
“I applied for this job and ultimately accepted it when offered because the agency is filled with great people and the community itself is a great area to live in and work in,” Callahan said. “I am invested in the community.”
In addition to his previous work with the PDPS, Callahan previously served on the Plainwell Community School’s Safety Committee.
“I have been active as a trainer for Active Shooter Incident Response in training Plainwell Community Schools teachers and staff how to respond to active violence,” he said. “I have instructed other area school districts in the Fifth District region in the same tactics.”
Callahan also has training from Texas A&M in Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events and shared this knowledge with churches and businesses.
Callahan received law enforcement and fire science degrees from Kalamazoo Valley Community College before earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Olivet College.
Of his 22 years in law enforcement, 14 were spent with Springfield Public Safety as an officer/sergeant. When Springfield Public Safety was absorbed by the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office in 2013, Callahan made that transition and eventually retired as a Lieutenant of the Patrol Division and Special Response Team Commander.
After retiring, Callahan spent some time in the private sector running a security team. However, he felt called to come back to law enforcement and took the position of Prairieville Township Police Chief in early 2021.
“I feel that my knowledge from my training and experience at my prior agencies will serve the Plainwell Department of Public Safety well,” he said.
Callahan knows he’ll need more time to fully assess the current state of the PDPS, but his initial impression of the department has been nothing but positive.
“Currently, the agency is staffed with well-trained, competent, seasoned officers,” he said. “The community is in good hands.”
Recruitment and retention of employees is one of the top priorities for Callahan.
“Those are issues that all law enforcement agencies are currently facing, and Plainwell is no exception,” he said. “We have to take care of the people we have currently and be creative with hiring of new staff. Currently, there are significant shortages at almost every agency in Michigan.”
As he continues to get settled into his new role, Callahan wants Plainwell residents to know he welcomes their input and suggestions.
“I am always available if the community has concerns or comments about the agency or my staff,” he said. “Feel free to reach out.”