The Grand Rapids Police Department wanted to mirror the community it serves. Now, the most diverse recruiting class in years has been sworn in.
Dave Rahinsky, chief of police for the Grand Rapids Police Department, says the diversity was intentional.
“We want a police department that closely mirrors the community we police. We weren't always able to produce that result when we hired only sworn personnel,” Rahinsky said.
Rahinsky says this was the first time in 16 years the department sponsored a recruiting class, meaning it paid for the 16-week police academy and eight-week in-house training for each recruit, rather than seeking previously sworn-in officers from other cities.
The class of ten officers comprises three African-American men, three white women, two white men, one Hispanic man and one Asian-American woman.
Bernard Schaefer II is one of the ten officers who was just sworn in. He says the journey from the academy to being sworn in was a long one.
“I remember at the time they told us there would only be five spots. And so they extended that once they saw the potential in the group that had come forth. And so just to have been chosen is a great honor,” Schaefer said.
The department says going forward, it wants each recruiting class to offer something different from the last.