GRPD task force releases 38 recommendations

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A task force put together to review the policies and procedures of Grand Rapids Police Department has finished its work.

The task force, which was made up of officers and members of the community who met once a month for a year, has released 38 recommendations.

But some of them are being met with pushback from Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky, who told commissioners Tuesday morning that his department doesn’t have enough manpower to accomplish what’s being asked of them in the report.

Rahinsky presented the recommendations and his response to them at a city commission meeting.

Among the most-talked about recommendations were that GRPD revise its youth policy, something that was created after incidents that led to criticism of how officers worked with kids.

“I think it’s a work in progress,” Rahinsky said of the police. “I think we had questions from the community about what it covered, what it didn’t cover.”

Another major recommendation is to improve community policing.

But the chief says that’ll be tough given what he has to work with, as what was a 400-plus officer department in 2010 has shrunk to just 280 now.

“We wanna be in the parks. We wanna be in the schools. We wanna be able to walk the business districts. But that takes personnel,” Rahinsky said. “When we’re going from call to call to call, we’re not able to give the community what it is that we hear from them what they want, and that’s a relationship.

In two weeks, the commission will take up precisely that when they will vote on whether or not to approve a study that will examine staff levels within GRPD.

Most commissioners agree more officers are needed, but how many more is yet to be seen.

“Even if it costs more money in the short term, (we should) bolster our ranks,” 1st Ward Commissioner Jon O’Connor said the meeting. “If not, we’re gonna be in a real predicament soon.”

The chief is expected to present that new youth policy next month.

Next spring, the city manager will present the budget, and the community will then likely get a better idea of where GRPD staffing levels are headed.

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