We at West Grand Neighborhood Organization want to get residents opinion on what they would like to see concerning our police department and whether or not you would like to see more Community Police Officers. We also would like to ask you about your thoughts on how community police relations could be made better. Please take the time to read the information below as we are trying to provide as much information as possible.
What are Community Police Officers?
Each neighborhood in Grand Rapids has a Community Police Officer that works with the Crime Prevention Organizer at your neighborhood organization.
Our community police officers work 4 - 10 hour shifts a week. Not at night and not on weekends (when they are busiest in the summer) because there is not enough officers to dedicate to nights and weekends. Community Police Officers help our city by being dedicated to specific neighborhoods and help troubleshoot issues that could be solved without escalation. They get to know our residents, which is important for solving neighborhood issues and building relationships.
Our police department is understaffed as compared to other cities of similar size (1.8 officers per 1,000 citizens would be about 360 officers). As of the 2015 report we had 292 officers with an estimated population of 195,000.
Our city is growing and our police force is declining. In order for our officers to get out of their cars and build relationships with the citizens they serve, more people of various backgrounds will need to be hired and trained in community policing initiatives. Prevention is key to reducing crime in our neighborhoods. This can be done through community policing as defined by these four key components identified by the Center for Evidenced-Based Crime Policy:
- Citizens need to participate in the decision process (i.e. be given a voice)
- Neutrality is a key element of procedural justice. Citizens tend to view a situation as fairer when officers are transparent about why they are resolving a dispute in a particular way.
- Individuals want to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Citizens are more likely to view an interaction as fair when they trust the motives of the police.
- Citizens will view the action taken as fairer if the officer shows a genuine concern for the interests of the parties involved.
Sources and Further Reading:
If you would like to learn more about the subject or are interested in reading the studies/news sources, please check out the following articles:
Fox 17 News - June 14, 2017: GRPD 40 Officers Short of National Average
Lamberth Consulting - Traffic Stop Study 2017: Data Analysis Report
Lamberth Consulting - Traffic Stop Study 2017: PowerPoint Presentation
Johnson Critique of the Traffic Stop Study: Critique
MLive - May 19, 2017: Consultant criticizes Grand Rapids police's traffic stop study
Bureau of Justice Statistics - Police Officer to Population Ratios
National Institute of Justice - Being Smart on Crime With Evidence-based Policing
Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy - Community Policing and Procedural Justice
Grand Rapids City Commissioners - Contact Them
GRPD Citizen Police Academy - Learn More
Please take a few moments to complete the survey below!
If you would prefer to do it in person or anonymously, please stop into our office at 415 Leonard St. NW (parking behind Brann's), we will have a paper survey available.