GRPD Chief: Diverse police force builds trust

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Grand Rapids Police Chief says he's trying to keep the department at the forefront of proper policing.

Chief David Rahinsky says he wants a more diverse police force so the department can better serve the community.   He says he is working to hire more women and minorities.

He just flew back from a conference on policing in Washington DC, and says he recognizes his department has more work to do to improve community relations.  However, he says the conference showed his officers are ahead of the curve.

Last year the GRPD implemented a 12-point plan to improve community relations, which included buying body cameras and requiring cultural competency training.

Rahinsky says he wants more done.  He said in today's tense climate, one of the biggest challenges departments face is building trust with citizens, something he thinks would be improved by having a more diverse police force.

Rahinsky also admits that shootings like those in recent days only build resentment and ultimately make it hard for departments to recruit anyone, let alone minorities.

"Take the viral images that we've seen just in the last 48 hours.  There's 800,000 police officers in the United States and 18,000 police departments," Rahinsky said.  "As horrific as those images are, they don't represent a mere fraction of the hundreds of thousands of interactions that'll take place today that will result in positive outcomes where police officers are there to help."

Rahinksy says he wants to work with GVSU to create and promote public service announcements to appeal to young people of varying backgrounds to encourage them to consider a career with GRPD.

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5 comments

  • Jerrod

    It is hard to build trust with a police department that is run by a puppet who was installed by, and is being guided by, a corrupt city administration which has no interest in real diversity. All it cares about is promoting the appearance of diversity. It is no different than anything else the city does. It is all about appearance, and nothing at all about foundational changes that ground reality. They promote the appearance of being progressive, but maintain the same “good old boys” network that has existed here since the 1970’s, and do not allow businesses or other municipalities in to the inner circle unless they agree to become part of that corrupt enterprise. They promote the appearance of modernity and growth by undertaking all these new building projects and spending huge amounts of money on new bus lines and bike lanes, but without improving the necessary infrastructure to support all the new construction and without regard to the fact that they don’t have the public support necessary for these projects to be financially viable. It is hard to build trust with a city which is actively trying to drive the poor out of town. It is hard to build trust with a city which does not ultimately care whether it is trusted or not.

    Rahinsky’s problems are not what he thinks they are. They are bigger, and they reside in the opposite direction from the direction he is looking.

    • Andrew

      That says it all, right there. It isn’t that people don’t trust the individual officers in one-on-one situations. It is that they don’t trust the department as an entity because they don’t trust the city. Yes, very well said!

  • Bob

    Good idea. Let’s hire a lot of people who are not qualified to be a police officer just so we can have a diversified police department.

    Who cares if they can do the job.

    The city needs to send David Rahinsky packing and find a new Police Chief!

    • Commonsense

      The boys and girls in blue have to pass the civil service test not to mention several other required tastings. Sorry Chief, ya can’t just hire off the street. I truly feel bad for those being left behind by those who are choosing to walk away from the department within the next two years to retire early. Maybe, just maybe the Chief really needs to sit down with them and find out why. Them again, does he care?