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Officers hope Citizen Police Academy will foster trust with community

One of the objectives of Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne's new strategic plan is to make the department the most trusted in the country.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The relationship between police departments and the communities they serve is one of the nation's top focuses right now, and the Grand Rapids Police Department is hoping to grow that relationship with its Citizen Police Academy.

The academy itself is not a new concept. But in a time of unrest in communities across the country, the department is taking this opportunity to foster trust with the community.

"It's a good look into the real things happening and the timing really good," said GRPD public information officer Raul Alvarez.

"People are concerned about what's going on with policing. This is an opportunity for citizens to get involved and take a serious look at what it does take and the good work that's being done"

The Citizen Police Academy will take place over the course of nine weeks beginning Sept. 23. Classes will run from 6:30 to 10 p.m. weekly.

"It's done through a combination of presentations and hands-on participation and covers areas like crime analysis, crime forensics, arrest procedures, and you also get a look into the K9 unit, the vice unit, the bomb team, and it includes a ride along with officers," Alvarez said.

"I think it's critical for any community resident that's interested to apply."

Space is limited, especially because of COVID-19, and there are some restrictions to the program. You must live or work in Grand Rapids. You must be 21 or older. You must not have any misdemeanor convictions in the last three years and no felony convictions at all. 

If your application is not accepted for the fall, you may be considered for future Citizen Police Academies.

To apply, you can visit the city's website. The final day to submit your application is Monday, September 7. 

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