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Grand Rapids Police Dept. solicits input to better serve community

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids Police Department

The Grand Rapids Police Department wants a better relationship with the community it serves -- so it sought out a task force to review its policies.

The department volunteered for this review after a study released earlier this yearfound some racial disparities in traffic stops.

Ron Davis is with 21st Century Policing Solutions, a company made up of several former police officers that is helping the task force review police procedures.

He says the department is doing the right thing by getting an outside perspective.

“To do a voluntary study on traffic stops is a very positive thing. You know, the truth may hurt, but selective ignorance is fatal,” Davis said.

Along with the controversy caused by the study, the department was criticized after video footage showed officers drawing guns on unarmed kids earlier this year.

However, Davis says the task force won't be investigating any specific cases. No specific policies have been identified for scrutiny yet. 

Davis says there are tensions between police and the community. 

“So in one sense, the challenges I see in Grand Rapids are very common to what I see around the country, how they're responding to the challenge is not so common and I wish it were,” he said.

The task force will examine department policies and over the next year.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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