Grand Rapids police release 3-year strategic plan

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department on Friday released a draft of its three-year strategic plan, which it promised will ‘transform policing in the city.”

The plan, which lists three main priorities broken down into 32 key points, will be presented to the city commission Tuesday.

The three priorities include safety, innovation and engagement.

Under the safety objective umbrella, the department said it will assign every patrol officer a beat so they become more familiar with the neighborhoods and residents where they work. GRPD also said it would create a “data-driven” Crime Reduction Team to “identify and address criminal offenders.”

Under innovation, GRPD touted its plans to add mental health professionals to the Homeless Outreach Team and also send those sorts of experts to mental health and substance abuse calls.

In the engagement section, the department said it wants to build community trust by improving neighborhood-based policing, work with the Oversight and Public Accountability Office to improve transparency and recruit officers that reflect the city’s demographics.

Engagement initiatives also include the launch of an online dashboard that contains information on complaints against the department, its budget, community engagement, crime statistics an staffing information. The department says more data will be added in time.

GRPD said in a release that the plan acknowledges racial and socioeconomic inequities and “establishes a new vision for the police department to partner with the community to make Grand Rapids the safest mid-sized city and make GRPD the most trusted police department in the U.S.”

“This plan lays out a vision for reimaging policing in our community,” GRPD Chief Eric Payne said in a statement. “Through compassion, empathy and courage, we are driven to meet the public safety needs of our community. I am excited to present this draft of our strategic plan for fiscal years 2021 to 2023.

“Our nation is undergoing a significant social awakening that demands both recognition and a commitment to change,” Payne’s statement continued. “This moment is the turning point for our department’s relationship with the community. Our strategies will help build a stronger bond and safer neighborhoods.”  

After the plan is submitted to commissioners next week, GRPD will get feedback from the community through Aug. 25. A finalized version will go to the city commission Sept. 29.

Some in the community have called for slashing millions from GRPD’s budget, limiting its share of the general fund to the smallest percentage allowed by city charter. They want that money — more than $9 million — to be redirected to community efforts.

A move to make that happen was shut down before the current city budget was approved earlier this year because City Manager Mark Washington was not on board. The next time Washington will present a city budget is in April. He has so far not indicated he intends to cut police funding.

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