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.