Public asks GRPD for more community policing

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Committed community policing and more resources to help build trust continue to be the theme for residents providing feedback to the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The department hosted a public meeting Wednesday night, the second overseen by its Task Force on Policies and Procedures. The task force’s focus is to determine ways GRPD can strengthen its relationship with the community.

Wednesday’s meeting included small group discussions about areas where the department can improve. Mainly, people want to see more officers walking the neighborhoods to get to know people. That includes higher crime areas where police tend to make more contacts. Feedback also included hiring more officers to allow for devoting resources strictly to community policing and diversifying the police force.

“Although these challenges are common, this response is unfortunately not,” Ronald Davis told 24 Hour News 8, referring to the public forums GRPD decided to have to better engage the community.

Davis is a principal consultant for 21st Century Policing Solutions, the firm overseeing GRPD’s reform efforts.

“So to be able to tackle the issue — to take it on, to open yourself up to criticism and evaluation, to engage the community where they have a significant voice instead of a symbolic voice — is pretty significant,” Davis added.

The department previously announced changes to its training curriculum as a result of community feedback. Chief David Rahinsky said it will continue to be open to changes throughout the process.

“As we identify areas we can improve upon, areas of consensus where we can make changes, modify policies, we’re going to do so immediately,” Rahinsky said.

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