GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On Thursday, the City of Grand Rapids announced that parking enforcement responsibilities will transfer from the police department to Mobile GR.
The transfer will begin on July 1, 2021.
A 2019 external staffing and deployment study of the police department suggested that increased non-sworn support could help free-up officers to perform duties that require police powers.
This week, Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) Chief Eric Payne and Mobile GR Department Director Josh Naramore showcased how that recommendation will soon be put to use.
The initiative aligns with recommendations from a 2019 staffing and deployment report commissioned by the City from Hillard Heintze LLC. It also meets the strategic priorities highlighted in the GRPD’s strategic plan and in the City’s strategic plan.
“The GRPD has an opportunity to increase non-sworn support and release officers to perform duties that require sworn powers,” the report states.
“This is another incremental step in our journey to reimaging policing in Grand Rapids and frees our officers to concentrate more on neighborhood policing strategies,” Chief Payne said. “This new arrangement with Mobile GR aligns with our strategic goal to leverage partnerships and technology to improve services, decrease crime and increase efficiency.”
Payne said, that while a specific time savings estimate is not available, the fact that officers issued 4,853 odd/even seasonal parking tickets in fiscal year 2020 shows how much free time will be available.
The year before during a snowy winter, officers wrote more than 7,156 seasonal violations. This redeployment will allow sworn GRPD personnel to respond to calls for services that require a sworn officer response.
Naramore said that although the Mobile GR Department currently performs the bulk of parking enforcement, absorbing calls related to parking and taking on odd/even seasonal parking enforcement is just another way to free up sworn GRPD personnel.
The initiative calls for bolstering the existing Parking Enforcement Workgroup with 3-4 seasonal staff to support winter parking enforcement and modifying current work schedules to handle parking complaints. The Mobile GR group consists of 10 parking violations checkers and one parking enforcement supervisor.
The group works staggered shifts to cover Monday through Saturday hours from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and focuses on meter infraction tickets, neighborhood business district parking infractions, residential parking permits and safety violations.
“We have been collaborating with GRPD over the last few months to really understand the data of parking tickets and dispatch calls related to parking,” said Naramore. “We’re excited to do our part to help free up officer time to support other police efforts.”
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