City continues to strengthen community and police partnership
Published on April 19, 2018
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids continues to form partnerships with the community to strengthen relationships and build trust in its police department. The department is in the midst of a policy and procedure review process fueled by the community-led Police Policy and Procedure Review Task Force. The process leads the many accomplishments made in collaboration with organizations and individuals to implement nearly all aspects of the 2015 12-Point Plan to Strengthen Community and Police Relations.
The 12 recommendations – listed in the accompanying Report Card at the bottom of this page – have resulted in internal and external changes in the way the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) operates and trains officers. The 12-Point Plan also has generated such outcomes as:
- Since 2016, all sworn Grand Rapids Police Officers have been outfitted with body worn cameras. The City has also adopted detailed administrative protocols for the use of body cameras, including retention schedules, protections for citizens’ privacy and access to the data.
- Meaningful opportunities for residents in all three wards to provide input on community and police relations during a citywide listening session tour
- Implementation of additional Safe Alliances for Everyone (SAFE) recommendations
- Hiring of 21st Century Policing to lead a yearlong review of the police department’s policies and procedures to identify and eliminate racial disparities
- Creation of a Police Policy and Procedure Review Task Force comprised of community leaders and GRPD representatives from every rank, including Police Chief David Rahinsky. In March, the police department implemented its new Youth Interaction Policy – developed by the Task Force in consultation with 21st Century Policing and several community partners. The policy codifies the police department’s expectation that officers use good judgement and act in the best interest of youth. The Task Force’s next quarterly community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6. The time, location and other details are being finalized.
- The GRPD Training Unit has contracted with MILO RANGE – provider of simulated training programs – to develop more than 40 new decision-making scenarios involving youth. The new scenarios are expected to be available within the next couple months.
- Last year’s participation by GRPD command staff, instructors and officers in more than 30 external trainings instructed by subject matter experts in ethics, unbiased policing, cultural diversity, de-escalation, crisis response, hostage negotiation and leadership, among others.
- Last year’s participation by all command staff in implicit bias training – a 12-hour block of instruction on policy assessment, reform, recruitment and hiring, training, accountability and outreach to diverse communities.
- Last year’s participation by five members of the command staff in the National Equity Project’s REAL Center Cohort Leadership program — a three-day, 24-hour block of instruction on issues of poverty, racial inequities and cultural diversity.
- Department’s annual participation in a four-week Leadership Institute course that provides 160 hours of instruction and includes team building, leadership and management, ethical decision-making, peer support, diversity and inclusion, risk management and communication skills. All GRPD supervisors and most officers have been though the training. The Leadership Institute includes a full day at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.
- Participation by all sworn personnel in 2016 in bias-free policing training – an eight-hour block of instruction provided by Lamberth Consulting.
- In June, the GRPD will partner with FranklinCovey to implement a community immersion training program titled Policing at the Speed of Trust. The program is a built upon the individual relationships established between officers and individual community members. It increases the level of trust the community has in public safety, increases responder credibility and helps to create a culture of trust.
- Formation of the IMPACT youth advisory council – comprised of high school students who meet monthly with Chief Rahinsky and review and discuss GRPD policies
- Series of Citizen Police Academies that provide the community with an in-depth look at GRPD policies and procedures. Registration for this fall’s free 10-week program is available at grandrapidsmi.gov/Services-Directory/Apply-for-the-Citizen-Police-Academy.
- Last year’s hiring of the most diverse class of police officers in GRPD history. The all-Michigan resident group consisted of three African-American males, three Caucasian females, two Caucasian males and one Asian-American female.
- Completion of a three-year review of traffic stops. The Lamberth Consulting study on traffic stop bias is available HERE.
- Addition of six citizens to serve on the City’s Public Safety Committee
- Regular meetings between the police department and Grand Rapids Association of Pastors
- Chief Rahinsky is co-chair of the West Michigan Chapter of the Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust - ALPACT
In 2017, the GRPD Training Unit facilitated more than 18,000 hours of in service training for 290 sworn personnel. The unit oversees an additional 77 training officers and instructs specially trained and certified personnel on ethics, cultural diversity, unbiased policing and decision-making, responding to individuals with mental disorders, peer support and crisis negotiations/intervention, among others.
“Activation of the Youth Policy and implementation of the 12-Point Plan are important next steps for our department and our community,” Chief Rahinsky said. “We are committed to continuing to strengthen relationships with our community and provide professional, progressive and responsive law enforcement services.”