GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Several unmarked Grand Rapids Police Department cruisers combed the Heartside Neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.
Their targets were the drug dealers that take advantage of the area’s homeless population, many of whom have substance abuse problems. Ten arrests warrants were issued for the dealers.
It’s an example of GRPD’s new program DICE, short for Data Informed Community Engagement.
“Using the technology, the data to drive our enforcement,” GRPD South Service Area Service Capt. Joe Trigg explained.
Data-driven enforcement is nothing new to police. Compiled information reveals patterns that can be targeted by police more efficiently. But DICE is different. The information does not come only from the officers on the beat, but rather from the people who live and work in the area, dealing with the crime day in and day out.
“It’s that whole thing of law enforcement and community working together, both identifying and agreeing that the same issues are going on in the neighborhood and how we can approach it together,” Trigg said.
DICE will roll out in the Heartside and Burton Heights neighborhoods and the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Street SE and Eastern Avenue SE.
The plan relies on trust between police and the community, but comes at a time when there are some loud voices expressing mistrust toward GRPD.
“The narrative on that is quite different on the street,” Trigg said. “But I think the message is they do want that presence. We do offer a sense of security for people. And I still think people like engaging us.”