Police union president criticizes lack of support from GR city leaders after officers exchange gunfire with suspect on 131

Posted at 9:52 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 04:06:20-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A social media post is calling out city leaders following an incident involving Grand Rapids Police on Thursday. The Facebook post from Friends of GR Cops calls out officials for what they're calling a lack of praise.

On Thursday, police tracked downAdam Nolin, the man suspected of killing his girlfriend, Tia Randall, at a mobile home park in Wyoming earlier in the day.

Nolin was taken to the hospital after officials say he exchanged gunfire with police then was hit by a GRPD cruiser in an effort to stop the shots. The homicide and exchange of gun fire that followed is still under investigation by three different departments.

The video of the incident has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, but not everyone is talking about it.

"I haven’t received any phone calls, the chief hasn’t received any phone calls from commissioners, the mayor, the city manager, not even checking up on how the guy is doing that ran the suspect over," said Andy Bingel. "That’s not an easy thing to do. A lot of guys deal with things like that for years to come.”

Bingel is president of the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association, speaking for the police union, not the department as a whole. He says city leaders have been quiet following the incident.

It's a statement echoed in a Facebook post on Monday on the page 'Friends of GR Cops.'

"I thought it was pretty spot on," said Bingel. "We have been shorthanded since the layoffs back in 2009. We were almost up to 400; now we’re around 280-something.”

Bingel says numbers have dropped drastically and officers are retiring earlier or are just simply looking for new jobs.

"I think the main reason they’re getting out of it, one of the biggest reasons, is the lack of support that the police department gets in general from city hall and city leaders," said Bingel. "That just wears on you more than anything.”

Bingel says he can’t remember a time in his six years as president that a city representative has contacted him following a critical incident like the one on Thursday.

"The only time we hear from city hall is when they perceive us screwing up,"said Bingel. "Last time we heard from the mayor in the paper, it wasn’t anything positive. When we had that incident with the two 11-year olds and a 17-year-old where they were briefly handcuffed, her quote was, 'We just took a step backwards.' That was like a dagger over to all of us at city hall. We go out there, we do our jobs, we don’t need a pat on the back, but it would sure be nice to know that we have the support of city hall, and we just don’t have it.”

Bingel says with incidents like the one on Thursday it was all hands-on deck and says he doesn’t know what would happen if there was more than one happening at the same time.

"If we have more than one incident in the city, we’re not going to be able to handle it," said Bingel. "We’re just spread too thin as it is.”

FOX 17 reached out to the city for comment. A spokesperson says they are incredibly grateful for the work that Grand Rapids Police do to keep our streets safe. Also, they’re waiting on results from a study currently going on before making decisions on staffing numbers.

FOX 17 also reached out to Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky for comment, but we didn’t hear back.

Nolin has been charged in connection to the incident on the highway, but has yet to be arraigned for the homicide in Wyoming.