Grand Rapids approves slight increase for police department, despite calls to spend less
Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously approved a $546 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year Thursday.
The new budget includes a $700,000 increase for the city’s police department, despite months of protest, hundreds of calls and thousands of emails from people calling for cuts to GRPD’s budget.
“I talked to a number of people who feel very strongly about the need to have police presence; I’ve talked to folks who feel over-policed," said Second Ward Commissioner Joe Jones.
"Again, for anyone out there who assumes that the decision is simple, I would suggest the opposite," Jones said.
City leaders say the funding will go toward more training. They say it'll allow the department to continue a new neighborhood policing model, in which officers are assigned to specific neighborhoods to better connect with residents.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss praised the budget.
“You know we don’t always get everything we want in every budget. This is a budget of compromise and prioritization.”
The new budget calls for more spending on neighborhood supports as well, including about 20 million dollars toward housing.