Two down and three to go. On Monday, June 12, the City of Grand Rapids hosted the first two of five scheduled community meetings during what leaders call “a listening tour.”

“What we want to ensure is an alignment between what the citizens prioritize and what the police department prioritizes,” explained Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky.

Organizers say the goal of the community meetings is to improve relations between the people and the police.

Small groups of people led by volunteer moderators shared complaints, compliments, encouragement, criticisms and curiosity about the police department.

One of the participants, James Hill, said, "I think it’s worthwhile, but one thing is missing here. I don’t see the youth involved. There is a major issue as far as the youth is concerned.”

Jerry Krupiczewicz, another participant, added, “I kind of sat in the middle keeping an ear on what was going on, I think people are starting to realize everybody in the community has got to work together.”

The city commission has set aside $1,000,000 in this year's budget to improve police and community relations. After they process the input from their five community meetings, they say they will decide how to spend that money.

Here is the schedule for the remaining meetings:

Bilingual (Spanish/English) session

  • June 16, 2017
  • 6:00 p.m.
  • Cesar Chavez (1205 Grandville Avenue SW)

Third ward evening session

  • June 19, 2017
  • 6:00 p.m.
  • Gerald R. Ford School (851 Madison Avenue SE)

Second ward session

  • June 20, 2017
  • 6:00 p.m.
  • GRPS University (1400 Fuller Avenue NE)

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