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GRPD supports 38 recommedations but says its 'a work in progress'

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As the Grand Rapids Police Department continues its work to repair police and community relations, last week a consulting group gave the department 38 recommendations to adopt after a yearlong review. One week later, the police gave their response to the City Commission. 

The 38 recommendations came from 21st Century Policing, a consultant group hired by the City of Grand Rapids over a year ago to conduct an internal review of the Grand Rapids Police Department. It all stemmed from  a 2017 traffic study that found police officers were twice as likely to pull over black drivers as they were non-black drivers. The department over the next 18 months would also face public criticism for handcuffing African-American youths under the age of 13 years of age, three separate times.

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky says he supports the 38 recommendations made by 21st Century policing, but adds the police department is doing everything in its power to restore trust in the community.

“I don’t think there is a department that has done as much as we have in the last couple of years,” Rahinksy said. “And while it all hasn’t necessarily turned out with the results that we would have hoped, it’s a work in progress, and I think we have the right people to get to where we want to be.”

Grand Rapids new City Manager Mark Washington, hired last month partly for his experience in improving racial equity in Austin Texas where he served as Assistant City Manager, echoed Rahinsky’s sentiments.

“I do want to applaud the police department for their work. Moving towards more community policing and transparency,” Washington said. “I think the department is committed to that.”

Among the 38 recommendations made to the police force include prohibiting the handcuffing of a child under the age of 12 in non-violent situations, and conducting a compressive analysis of staff.