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Grand Rapids creates new office for accountability, public safety

In the new role, Brandon Davis will build on Grand Rapids' community safety efforts.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids has created a new office that will serve as the liaison between the community and the City on public safety issues. 

City Manager Mark Washington appointed Brandon Davis as interim director of the newly created Office of Oversight and Public Accountability. The office will work to promote trust, transparency and accountability through independent and impartial monitoring and oversight of public safety complaints. 

Davis has served as a senior labor relations specialist for the City of Grand Rapids for the past year. Before joining the City of Grand Rapids, Davis was a trial attorney in Muskegon County and handled felony cases as a senior assistant prosecutor. Davis is originally from Detroit, which is where he started he career in law as a defense attorney and Wayne County assistant prosecutor.

Davis will now work with the police and fire chiefs to "embed equity" into all their departmental policies and practices. Davis will evaluate police and fire internal affairs policies and models to develop new models that facilitate community engagement, as well as educate. 

Davis also will serve as staff liaison to the Civilian Appeal Board, among other responsibilities.  

“This position is critically important as we continue to work to bridge concerns of the community and our police department around issues of fairness and justice and knowledge of social problems and community attitudes,” Washington said. “Mr. Davis has a high level of understanding of public safety operations and their challenges and a proven ability to build community relationships and maintain public trust. I expect him to help the community understand when officers do their job well and follow policy and help the department improve policy and hold officers accountable when needed.”  

This move aligns with the City’s Strategic Plan and is part of the community safety investments outlined in its Fiscal Year 2020 budget, which began July 1. It also aligns with recommendations from the Police Policy Procedure and Review Task Force.  

“Accountability, transparency and collaborative innovation are key to ensuring the success of the Office of Oversight and Public Accountability,” Davis said. “They’re the building blocks of bridging the gap between community and law enforcement. I look forward to partnering with community members and our public safety departments to advance this work to ensure all people feel safe and are safe at all times in our city.” 

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