New police chief hired in Rochester

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published May 24, 2023

 George Rouhib Jr.

George Rouhib Jr.


ROCHESTER — Come June, there will be a new chief in town.

George Rouhib Jr. was recently named the new chief of police by Rochester City Manager Nik Banda, with the unanimous support of the Rochester City Council.

“This is a dream job. This is a dream opportunity for me,” said Rouhib. “There are not many jobs like this that open up, especially in a community like this.”

Rouhib replaces former Chief Steve Schettenhelm, who is set to retire from his post near the end of June after over 15 years of service to Rochester.

“There are some big shoes to fill,” Rouhib said of Schettenhelm. “He’s gonna leave his legacy here, and I will build on that legacy.”

Rouhib — who was one of 23 applicants for the position — has over 37 years of experience in law enforcement.

“I’m sure I can be a great asset with all the experience I have over the years,” he said.

Rouhib previously served with the Eastpointe police, where he was hired as the public safety director in September 2018. Prior to that, he spent 32 years in the Fraser Department of Public Safety, including serving as its director for 11 years, receiving numerous awards from the city for bravery, lifesaving efforts and meritorious citations.

“I’ve worked myself up the ranks, and I’ve worked every facet of law enforcement,” Rouhib said. “I’ve also been part of just about every program you can think of. I’m a big proponent of drug education.”

Rouhib holds a master’s from Eastern Michigan University in interdisciplinary technology and a bachelor’s from Wayne State University in criminal justice/psychology, and is a member of various professional affiliations — including the Operation Smack Down Task Force — and is a co-founder of the first chapter of Families Against Narcotics. He also served as an adjunct professor in Macomb Community College’s criminal justice program, where he began teaching in January 2017.

The Rochester Police Department is responsible for all police services within the 3.8-square-mile boundaries of the city. The department has 26 sworn officers — including detectives, command officers, road patrol officers and school liaison officers — as well as its own dispatch center with five dispatchers who answer the phones around the clock.

Rouhib already has plans to implement some new programs for all the various groups in the community and offer education and training sessions.

“I’m big on drug education and awareness, so I want to bring that into the community,” he said. “I would also like to start a neighborhood watch group where we can talk about different safety tips and what to look for. It’s all about community policing and working with the residents to try to reduce crime … and keeping them constantly informed about what we are doing and how we do it. I would like to assign officers to some of the stores, so if some of the stores have issues, they can contact certain officers. I would also like to do some active shooter training for places of worship and train the business community how to do background checks for free to help them when they are hiring.”

Rouhib said he will give the Rochester community “120% every single day.”

“I love working. I don’t have to work; I choose to work,” he said. “I think I’ve been put on earth to do this kind of job. I love dealing with people. That’s my biggest skill — the way I communicate with people and connect with people,” he said. “I’m new coming in, so it’s going to take some time to build trust and respect, but I assure you, you are going to get that from me. I’m so excited about this.”

Councilman Mark Albrecht said he grew up in East Detroit, which is now Eastpointe, and the East Detroit that he grew up in is not the Eastpointe that it is today.

“What a police chief does in Eastpointe versus a police chief in Rochester is, unfortunately, night and day these days,” Albrecht said. “One of the things that I have always commended the chief on, and his staff, is our community focus. They are to serve and protect, and we know that when things go bump in the night that our police staff is going to be there, along with our Fire Department and everything else, but it’s the little things that they do with a community focus, and I think that trickles down from the chief and into the organization.”

He requested that Rouhib continue the Police Department’s community focus and improve upon it going forward. He also urged Rouhib to consider succession planning and asked him to maintain “high visibility.”

“The chief is here at our council meetings. He’s out in the community, at the Woodward Dream Cruise. He’s riding his bike. Any event that is going on in the city, he is there. His staff is there. All those little things add up. Those are very important to me as a resident. They are important to me as a city councilperson, and I hope you can fill Chief Schettenhelm’s shoes and do those things here,” Albrecht added.

Mayor Stuart Bikson said he is looking forward to having Rouhib join the team.

“This is a very important position in our city,” Bikson said.

The Rochester Police Department is located at 400 Sixth St. For more information, call (248) 651-9621.