Police Chief Describes Plan To Deal With Violence

Posted at 11:19 AM, Jan 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-22 17:40:04-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In response to a rash of gun violence, the Grand Rapids Police Department has assigned special response teams to most of the affected areas, increased patrols, and reassigned investigators to handle the work load.

The actions were described Tuesday morning to the Grand Rapids city commission by GRPD Chief Kevin Belk.

A public meeting was held last Friday seeking public comment on what to do about the violence. There was standing room only, and the chief said he was pleased at the turnout.

Some actions require overtime, which will be paid for by reallocating money from a Justice Assistance Grant project that was unspent. The change in spending will need federal approval, said Belk.

To deal with the increased number of cases to investigate, several investigators have been temporarily assigned from the Cold Case Team to the Major Case Team. Some of the workload from the Major Case Team has been given to the General Case Team to free up time for Major Case Team members to investigate homicides.

GRPD has asked for help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to assist with gun investigations. The department is also getting help from the FBI’s Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force to make it possible to make arrests as quickly as possible when arrest warrants are issued.

In addition, an assistant prosecutor has been assigned to each of the recent homicides. They are using investigative subpoenas to get people on record in the investigations and to apply the addition pressure of possible perjury charges to get witnesses to tell the truth.

Chief Belk laid out a comprehensive plan to the commission:

  • Special response teams assigned to neighborhoods affected.
  • Assign extra patrols in areas were there has been violence.
  • Grant overtime to handle the extra patrols, pending federal approval of the use of JAG grand funds.
  • Encourage officers to make more traffic stops.
  • Increase field investigations to try to recover illegal weapons.
  • Identify people involved in the current wave of violence.
  • Work with school security to get intelligence and increase security presence in schools.
  • Work with the Department of Corrections to increase parole checks, verifying that parolees are living where they are supposed to be living and abiding by the conditions of their paroles.

(On location reporting, video, and photo by Eric Florence, FOX 17)

Below is a list of the 2012 crime numbers for Grand Rapids:

16 in 2012
17 in 2011
6 in the Month of December 2012. There were 0 in December 2011.

94 in 2012
73 in 2011

52 in 2012
88 in 2011

555 in 2012
469 in 2011

4561 in 2012
4011 in 2011

Violent Crime
1583 in 2012
1439 in 2011

Property Crime
6898 in 2012
6407 in 2011