95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kent County program seeks to connect refugees with law enforcement

Brandon Shafer Photography
Welcome Plan Kent County/kentycountynewamericans.org

A new program is providing Kent County immigrants and refugees with the opportunity to speak one-on-one with local law enforcement officials.

Welcome Plan West Michigan, a group committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for new Americans, immigrants and refugees in Kent County, recently held a Q & A session in which refugees could meet with local law enforcement. Approximately 70 people attended. According to MaryAnne Flier, Cross-Cultural Community Manager for Treetops Collective:

“All of the feedback we received was, that was incredible, that was wonderful, we’re so thankful that we had the chance to have those conversations. But now, how do we make sure that those conversations are ongoing, that it’s not just a one-time event?”

In an effort to do that, Welcome Plan, along with Treetops and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department decided to start an ongoing community drop-in every Monday throughout the month of December:

“The idea was bringing somebody from law enforcement on site on a regular basis, let the community members know that they’re here, and can drop in and speak with them at any time during that hour.”

Flier says she hopes the drop-in serves as a blueprint for other organizations and wants to encourage local immigrant and refugee communities to continue having an open dialogue with law enforcement.

“They’ve expressed the desire to have conversations with local law enforcement and kind of share their perspectives and ask questions and so we’re really trying to give them that opportunity.”

The drop-ins are every Monday throughout the month of December from 12:30 TO 1:30pm at 906 South Division Street in Grand Rapids.

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
Related Content