Grand Rapids Police updates policy on interacting with youth

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Grand Rapids Police Department is making changes in the way it interacts with the community's children in its newest version of their Youth Interaction Policy. 

The updates come after people shared a number of concerns with the department, mainly about children being placed in handcuffs.

At a community meeting in October, people from the community said they wanted more specific ages outlined when it comes to handcuffing policy. The newest version of the department's rules seem to reflect that but still do not have any age specified at which officers should not handcuff a child. For example, some community members asked that no child under 13 be placed in handcuffs when being questioned or searched by police .

Rather, the policy cites a Supreme Court ruling that says officers should reasonably recognize a child's age and use appropriate action based on that.

Among other changes: if a child under 13 is placed in handcuffs, the officer will notify their supervisor; if anyone under the age of 17 is patted down or handcuffed as a part of an investigation by police, their parents will be notified and it will now be reflected in an incident report.

The changes to the policy and youth interactions come after an incident with an 11 year old girl named Honestie where she was placed in handcuffs and held in a police cruiser while police searched for a stabbing suspect. They later called it the "Honestie Policy."

Now, under the changes, "youth" is defined as someone under the age of 18. "Juvenile" is defined as someone under 17 and accused of breaking a law. These changes all come about eight months after the initial policy was put into place back in March.

The department says it's currently training officers on the new regulations.

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4 comments

  • J

    I’m okay with that as long as these “ children “ over the age of 13 will be tried as adults. That’s most of the problem these kids can do whatever they want with no real repercussions they want to commit crimes set actual examples. I bet the crime rate drops drastically when kids see there friends going to jail for real time.

  • C

    If these ‘kids’ would learn what “stop”, “yes,sir”, and “no,sir” means, most of this conversation wouldn’t even be necessary.

    • Matt

      But then their parent would have to set examples for them…….thats not going to happen. They are taught young not to trust cops or white people.

      • Sillyoldme

        It does not matter what the Police do. Unfortunately, media’s constant negative criticism of the GRPD and the fact that a certain group within the City is getting Special treatment. What’s going to be the excuse next time when Tenicia or Yakesha get themselves in trouble? Whose fault other than their own or their parents will it be next time?
        Something to ponder, because it is never the fault of those yelling the loudest!