Police Task Force offers 38 ideas for addressing disparate outcomes

Published on September 11, 2018

21st Century Policing Principal Ron Davis' 9/11/18 presentation to the Grand Rapids City Commission on the Police Policy and Procedure Review Task Force recommendations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Police Policy and Procedure Review Task Force has identified a total of 38 recommendations aimed at addressing disparate outcomes and strengthening community and police relations. The recommendations fall in six areas of Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) policy review: staffing and deployment, internal affairs, training, youth interactions, community policing and crime reduction, and recruiting and hiring. 

Ron Davis, principal of 21st Century Policing, the Task Force’s facilitator, presented the recommendations to the City Commission today during special briefing. Davis said the recommendations were not a final report, adding the Task Force would complete and present it in October. He said the final report would include details of the group’s yearlong work and deliberations as well as an assessment of GRPD’s efforts to implement the recommendations outlined in President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing

The Task Force will hold its final quarterly report out to the community in October. Details will be announced soon.

“The challenges you are attempting to tackle are not unique to Grand Rapids – they’re common for police departments across the country,” Davis said. “What is unique is how you have responded by bringing together community members and police officers. The work this task force has done and the mutual respect and consensus that have been built among its members will produce a better future for the community and the police department. 

“This is not a top-to-bottom look at the police department. It’s looking at these six areas and how they may lead to disparities.”

The Grand Rapids Police Policy and Procedure Review Task Force previously presented recommendations for staffing and deployment, internal affairs, training and youth interactions to the City Commission. The newly announced recommendations focused on community policing and crime reduction and recruiting and hiring. 

For community policing and crime reduction, the Task Force is recommending the City Commission adopt a resolution that mandates community policing as the operating philosophy of the police department and requires all City departments to contribute to the enhancement of public safety through community collaboration. The other recommendations included:

  • A citywide community policing plan that incorporates crime reduction strategies, community engagement and partnerships, and police department oversight
  • A patrol strategy that allows beat officers time to engage with the community in non-enforcement activities 
  • Problem-oriented policing training for all sworn officers. This comprehensive and evidence-based training teaches officers how to solve community problems in partnership with the community.
  • Use the core principles of community policing –  engagement, collaboration, problem-solving and building trust and legitimacy – in annual performance evaluations for all officers

 

For recruiting and hiring, the Task Force is recommending:

  • GRPD continues its recruitment outreach efforts with a specific focus on the recruitment and retention of people of color
  • GRPD continues its intern program and provides sufficient resources to increase participation
  • The City continues to use community members as part of the interview process of GRPD applicants
  • The City considers engaging in a national recruitment effort to increase the diversity pool and outreach efforts

 

This spring, the Youth Interactions Policy went into effect. The policy – developed by the Task Force in partnership with residents, community partners, police officers of every rank and 21st Century Policing – codifies GRPD’s expectation that officers use good judgement and act in the best interest of youth.

 

The Task Force’s earlier recommendations also included: 

  • Staffing and deployment – Notify communities before increasing deployment in certain areas, have staffing levels analyzed by an outside group and move forward with additional traffic stop studies. The City Commission in August authorized consultant services for the purpose of conducting a staffing and deployment review of GRPD staffing.
  • Internal affairs – Establish a conflict of interest policy, make reporting complaints easier and share annual data on complaints
  • Training – Provide additional training on cultural competency and bring the community into the development of officer training when appropriate

 

For the complete list of the Task Force’s recommendations, CLICK HERE.

Over the past 12 months, the Task Force has played an important role in the City’s efforts to increase transparency and build trust between the community and the police department. The Task Force was tasked with reviewing all police department policies and procedures and revising those that might lead to disparate outcomes.

The task force consists of the following members: Marques Beene, Janay Brower, Sonja Forte, Ed Kettle, Maria Moreno-Reyes, Huemartin Robinson, Raynard Ross, Chief Rahinsky, Deputy Chief Eric Payne, Capt. Michael Maycroft, Lt. John Bylsma, Sgt. Jana Forner, Sgt. Dan Adams and Officer Andrew Bingel.