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GRPD Chief Payne addresses reforms and budget reduction

Chief Eric Payne, City of Grand Rapids Police Department photo
City of Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Police Department held a news conference Friday updating the community on department reforms along with discussions about defunding its budget.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne says he’s talking with community members, receiving feedback and hearing their concerns. Over the next 60 days there will be revisions made to Use of Force practices like making it policy that chokeholds are off-limits unless it’s a deadly force encounter. De escalation will also be highlighted.

The city’s Oversight and Accountability office and its legal division are all involved in policymaking.

There are discussions of reducing the department’s budget from 38.6% to 32%. In order for the budget to go any lower than 32% a change in the city’s charter would need to take place.

“If there’s a significant reduction in our budget it will impact our operations. And my number one priority has been from day-one the safety of the community. That concerns me.”

Chief Payne says the men and women serving everyday require proper training and equipment. Any reductions, including staffing levels – would be determined by City Manager, Mark Washington. Chief Payne is focused on 23 policy changes.

“And that’s what I’ve been spending my time with; how to look at those items and make sure that we’re making the reforms that we said we would make and getting that done. At this point I have not looked at what $9 million means to our operation? But, I would consider that a significant reduction.”

I’m Patrick Center.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.