GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group tasked with helping the Grand Rapids Police Department strengthen its relationship with residents unveiled its final recommendations Wednesday evening.
The Police Policy and Review Task Force formed last October with a goal of reviewing procedures within the department. The group was created because of a traffic study which found racial disparities in stops and searches.
Community meetings have been held over the last several months for the task force to learn what residents want to see changed.
It was no surprise that the task force identified GRPD’s youth policy as a main area for improvement.
“In all honesty this was almost, these are my words only, almost a no-win situation,” said Raynard Ross when discussing the group’s work on the youth policy changes. “In that, I don’t think there’s a single person in this room who likes the sight of a child being handcuffed, even when there is for lack of a phrase ‘good procedural’ reason to conduct that handcuffing.”
Ross is the task force’s co-chair.
Ross acknowledged that there’s not one blanket policy for every situation police encounter, making it difficult, but not impossible, for the community-involved task force to tackle the issue over time.
GRPD Chief David Rahinksy told 24 Hour News 8 that all the goals that have been set are connected.
21st Century Policing Solutions, an outside consulting group, has reviewed GRPD policies for a year.
Representatives said the agency can improve by using more evidence-based policing.
Chief Rahinsky told 24 Hour News 8 that the recommendations will yield huge results for his department.
“Very few departments are willing to open their doors to outside consultants and be as transparent as we have for a year,” Rahinsky said. “We don’t’ want to be status quo. We want to be the best agency in the state of Michigan.”
Rahinsky said he’s excited for the open data initiative.
It will reportedly give the public quick access to GRPD data — including race of civilians involved, use of police force, location of incident, etc. — to provide more transparency.
Last month, 38 recommendations detailed in the group’s final report were put before the city commission. The recommendations focus in the following areas:
- Staffing and Deployment
- Internal Affairs
- Youth Policy
- Community Policing and Crime Reduction
- Recruiting and Hiring
Community Policing and Crime Reduction was also a main area of concern
See the full final assessment on the city’s website.