GRPD-community relations plan six months later

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Six months after Grand Rapids released a 12-point plan aimed at improving relations between the police department and citizens, eight of those recommendations are in the works.

The plan for the Grand Rapids Police Department was released in January, after the deaths of two black men in Missouri and New York at the hands of police officers prompted questions about police departments’ relationships with the communities they serve.

Wednesday, city leaders said all of the recommendations are on schedule and under budget.

>>PDF: Grand Rapids Community and Police Relations

Four recommendations were due last week.

GRPD recommendations due in July 072215

Among those was a new strategic plan for GRPD to operate in a community-focused way, which is complete.

Additionally, all officer involved shootings will now be investigated by Michigan State Police. Previously, they were investigated internally by GRPD.

>>PDF: Officer-involved shooting investigations outline

A review of the city’s diversity and inclusion policy is in the works. Language has been changed and ordinances may be added.

>>PDF: Diversity and Inclusion Office policy recommendations

The city is also educating the public about the Civilian Appeal Board, through which citizens can file complaints about police action.

Four other recommendations were due back in March.

GRPD recommendations due in March 072215

Under one of those recommendations, the chief and captains have been freed up to spend more time at community meetings and other community events.

Getting body cameras on all officers is still a work in progress. Cameras have been selected and tested, and are expected to be implemented by December.

>>PDF: Body cameras pilot program outline

The surveillance policy and protocol for the body cameras have been created, which was the biggest focus for the police chief.

“We are capturing what the public has asked us to capture, but were also being sensitive to when they’ve asked to be cognizant that something may not be a recordable moment,” GRPD Chief David Rahinsky said.

“I think this is one of the most important things I’m working on right now,” Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom said of the 12-point plan. “Without equal access and equal protection and opportunity for everybody, we’re not a great city.”

In a Friday news release, GRPD said the department is planning to buy 300 body cameras, one for each of the department’s officers. Each officer will be required to wear the body cameras while in uniform.

Four more recommendations are due in December:

  • Reinvent hiring practices;
  • Enhance officer training;
  • Hire a consultant to conduct a study of racial disparity in traffic stops;
  • Hire a consultant to conduct a study of racial disparity in arrests.

The total cost to implement the plan is estimated at around $1.5 million, including the body cameras.

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