GRPD’s strategic plan focuses on community policing

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department released its strategic plan to the City Commission Tuesday.

It outlines the new plan to stop the violent trend and improve interactions with the community.

GRPD says the public input heavily influenced the plan’s final version, specifically adding action steps to the police engagement section. The plan has three priorities: safety, innovation and engagement.

Under the safety section, police will be focusing on being a positive presence in the neighborhoods, transitioning every patrol officer to a community policing specialist.

Officers will be working on crime prevention and building trust, including communicating with neighbors before deploying plans that involve increased police presence in the neighborhood.

Marian Barrera-Young, head of the Baxter Neighborhood Association, says that partnership must continue for real change.

“Everyone has a part in this,” Barrera-Young said. “The police cannot live in your neighborhood — you live in your neighborhood. Because of that, it’s up to you to pull your neighbors together and work together to deal with this.”

The Baxter Neighborhood is the location of Grand Rapids’ latest shooting, which took place in broad daylight. One man was sent to the hospital. A passing car and home were also hit.

GRPD will also create a data-driven crime reduction team that will identify criminal offenders and crime hot spots to focus on.

The safety portion is heavily data-driven, which is a change from past policing.

The innovation part of the plan partners with organizations to improve service, including a partnership with behavioral health professionals when responding to calls related to mental health and non-violent drug use.

There will also be a transition of parking enforcement duties to city employees outside of the police department.

Under the engagement section, the plan puts police at neighborhood meetings and engaging with neighbors online regularly.

GRPD plans on hiring a non-sworn public information officer to work on an engagement strategy.

A newly launched police metrics dashboard online will be used to share and gather data on policing from and with community members.

A collaborating with the Greater Grand Rapids NAACP and Hispanic Center of Western Michigan is being formed to find new police recruits.

When asked if strategic plans can make a real impact on crime, Barrera-Young responded, “Well, if the police are out in the community and people are stepping up to the plate, yes it will.”

GRPD is hosting a National Night Out Event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 6 at MacKay Jaycees Park on Kalamazoo Avenue SE. It will be a drive-thru event due to the pandemic and masks will be required. Police, firefighters and EMTs will have crime prevention information, truck displays and giveaways.

National Night Out is meant to encourage positive relationships between communities and the officers who serve them.  

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