GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids Police unveiled their new Youth Interactions Policy Tuesday morning before the Grand Rapids City Commission.
The policy is the first significant addition by the City's Police Policy and Procedure Review Task Force. Before this policy was created, the city says the GRPD did not have a policy exclusively for youth interactions.
The co-chairs of the Task Force, Raynard Ross, an Associate Dean with Grand Rapids Community College and Deputy Police Chief Eric Payne, made the presentation Tuesday. Ross said that the team knew that officers had discretion when in contact with youth, they felt it was important to get something written down into policy.
"This document codifies that expectation, establishes goals for officers to always act in the best interest of the youth they encounter and outlines several factors to consider when interacting with youth," Ross said in a press statement.
The policy gives police the ability to consider a wide range of choices when interacting with youthful offenders, considering the most reasonable and least restrictive, depending on public and officer safety and public order.
“The men and women of our police department recognize the impact of their involvement with youth,” Deputy Chief Payne said in the statement. “While young people have the same constitutional protections as adults, all of us were reminded over the past year of the need for sensitivity and additional protective measures when we interact with children and teens.
The Task Force has been developing the policy since August. Residents from every ward and police officers of every rank have been included, according to the city.