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GRPD updates Youth Interactions Policy after 2 incidents of black children held at gunpoint in 2018

Grand Rapids Police Department station
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids Police Department station

The Grand Rapids Police Department updated itsYouth Interactions Policyon Monday.

The previous policy was made after officers handcuffed and arrested an unarmed 11 year old black girl last December.

Back in October, residents called on the department to change the policy after another young unarmed black girl was held at gunpoint. That was the second incident this year with black kids being held at gunpoint.

The updated policy made changes to how youth will be handcuffed, when a child will be put in a police cruiser, and when officers should draw a firearm.

Robert Womack, a Kent County Commissioner who represents Grand Rapids, said this revised policy could have prevented the incidents earlier this year.

“The last policy just seemed a little militant in its nature,” Womack said.

The updated policy also now asks officers to call Child Protective Services if they enter a home and find it necessary, which Womack isn’t a fan of.

“I was a little concerned with some of those agencies they put in there,” he said.

Womack said the city’s black community doesn’t have a good relationship with CPS.

The original Youth Interactions Policy, which was put in place earlier this year, was about two pages long. The revised version is seven pages.

No representatives from the city’s police department were immediately available for comment.

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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