The Rapidian

Ten Principles of Community Policing: Part Two

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Creston Neighborhood Association explores Decentralized and Personalized Policing, and Immediate and Long-Term Proactive Solving in the city of Grand Rapids
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Check out the Grand Rapids Police Department Strategic Plan to implement community policing from 1998:  

By Lindy Nawrocki


Community policing is successful based on a number of factors. One of the more important factors is the common goal for quality of life of all citizens by all community members and police officers. In 1998 the Grand Rapids Police Department presented a Strategic Plan for a more community-oriented government and community policing. Additionally, a three-phase plan was developed to provide Decentralized and Personalized police service within a few years. This plan was implemented under Harry Dolan, who served as the GR Police Chief for nine years and left the force in 2007. Dolan was inspired to implement a more community-oriented plan after hearing a talk by the late Dr. Robert Trojanowicz.  Dr. Trojanowicz inspired "Trojo," the National Center for Community Policing at Michigan State University. Trojo’s mission represented by his words, “Until we are all safe, no one is truly safe," made Dolan confident that community-policing practices in Grand Rapids would be a success. Even though Dolan is no longer the police chief, many of the goals of this plan have been implemented in various ways around our city. For example, in 2010 the West Side Neighbors and Southwest Area Neighbors were implemented new community officers. While community policing was new to Officers Alan Ort and Thomas Warwick, they felt equipped to handle their new jobs. It was all part of the GRPD plans to move community policing forward.

Decentralized and Personalized policing is the third Principal of Community Policing. This principal entails police officers serving as a direct relationship between the police department and their community, just as Officer Ort and Officer Warwick were assigned to do. Most important to this principal is the need for officers to leave their police vehicles and police radios, in order to connect face-to-face with community members. The GRPD Strategic Plan for Community Policing under Dolan’s leadership included five primary goals. The second goal was Decentralization. Decentralization in our community entails police captains, who are assigned to a particular neighborhood beat, to become a “mini-chief,” to become well-respected captains to their communities. As a “mini-chief,” police captains shoulder more responsibility, as do community members in each neighborhood beat. Immediate and Long-Term Proactive Solving is the fourth Principal of Community Policing. This principal entails police captains going beyond their general work of responding to calls and making arrests. Police captains and community members need to work together and share creative solutions with each other. Police captains should also serve as a direct relationship between neighbors and public or community organizations.

The GRPD “combines a rich law enforcement heritage and today's theories of Community-Oriented Government” and they work “in partnership with citizens, city government, and other stakeholders” to work for quality of life in the community.”  Before newly appointed GRPD Police Chief David Rahinsky was hired in, City Manager Greg Sundstrom formulated a candidate profile. Greg Sundstrom emphasized the importance that the candidate is aware of the growth needed for Grand Rapids community policing initiatives. He stated in the profile that, “We need to grow community policing. We need to integrate police officers with every neighborhood and make every citizen part of keeping our community safe. We need a Police Chief with a vision to take community policing to the next level in Grand Rapids.” As a community we can put a primary focus on quality of life in our city, more than ever before. This is the second in a series of articles on the ten principals of community policing.



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