GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Officer Adam Baylis works in what’s been one of the city’s most troubled areas, the southeast side.
He’s been a community officer for 15 years, which is considered one of the proactive roles in local law enforcement.
“We’re each assigned a beat. My beat is Inkster, Madison, Wealthy and Cottage Grove,” Baylis explained.
“Well, a lot of people have perceptions on police. There’s distrust in some neighborhoods on police,” he said.
“And once they see us every day, they talk to us every day, even some of the people that are up to no good in the neighborhoods develop some trust because they see us every day because we’re talking with them, and it’s not always in a confrontational situation,” Baylis explained.
That communication with citizens hopefully deters crime and leads to key information for unsolved crimes.
In the just over a month, nine people have died from gun violence on the city’s southeast side. One of the victims, Gregory Woods Jr. was shot to death on Neland Avenue.
That’s right around the corner from the Baxter Neighborhood Association, which is an organization officer Baylis works with constantly.
“Some of the communities that have dropped their community policing, have more problems than they ever expected,” Marian Barrera-Young said.
In his coverage area on the southeast side, Sergeant Michael Maycroft says his team recovered 17 handguns in 2012.
“Anytime you can take those guns off the street you might be preventing another shooting or another homicide,” Maycroft said.
The Baxter Neighborhood Association is located right around the corner from Neland Avenue, where Gregory Woods Jr. was shot to death.
“We need cooperation from the community, police cannot do this alone. No question about it,” Maycroft said.
“It makes it much tougher and takes us much longer to get these criminals off the street, who are acting quite violent, and when you start seeing this homicides go at such a quick rate in such a short amount of time it’s very concerning for us as well, for officer safety and for citizen safety,” he explained.