‘Pretty cool’: Many neighbors happy with ramped up GRPD patrols

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With extra cruisers on the streets and a helicopter in the air, the Grand Rapids Police Department says its weekend blitz targeting hot spots for crime resulted in 19 arrests.

Of those arrests, five were for felonies. There were also 11 citations, four guns confiscated and two stolen cars recovered.

News 8 received calls over the weekend complaining about the circling helicopter, but the overwhelming majority of people on the street Monday said that they liked seeing the increased police presence — dubbed Operation: Safe Neighborhoods by GRPD — and want more of it. 

“I think it’s pretty cool, myself,” resident Fred Mitchell said. “It makes people know that they are protecting and that they are doing what they need to do.”

Mitchell said the city is growing and so is the violence. He felt like it was right for police to step up patrols.

When asked if he felt annoyed by the sound or the presence of the helicopter, he replied, “I feel safe.”

Business owners and a mom out with her kids said the same.

“If it’s working, if it’s something that’s providing value to our residents, then I’m fine with it,” Jenny Griffin said while out for a walk.

“It doesn’t really bother me very much, but I want to make sure it’s the right thing,” she added of the helicopter. “I don’t want people to feel scared by what’s going on. I think if anything you just need the correct information.”

She said better communication from police would be beneficial. 

Those who called the News 8 newsroom to complain said the helicopter was unnecessary and wondered how it contributed to positive police-community relations. GRPD Sgt. Dan Adams admitted in a Monday statement that it’s a “delicate balance.”

This is the third time GRPD has held an Operation: Safe Neighborhoods sweep, with the others happening last fall. The first resulted in 34 arrests and the second 11. On an average night, there are only a few.

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