City of Grand Rapids | Michigan Radio

City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Police cruiser
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

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.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Climate change in the Great Lakes region means more intense storms. Already some towns are finding they’re flooding where they never have before. One city in Michigan is finding the solution is nature.

8 guns laid out on beige carpet
Joshua Shearn / Wikimedia Commons /

Grand Rapids has seen more homicides so far this year than it did in all of 2019. That’s prompted the Grand Rapids Police Department to propose a gun buy-back program.

There have been 471 gunfire incidents so far this year and 22 homicides compared to 17 for all of last year.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Police Department has released a draft of a new strategic plan after many in the community called for defunding the department.

The plan would convert all current patrol officers to community-based officers assigned to specific neighborhoods, and incoming 911 calls will be managed so that sworn officers only respond when they’re needed.

black business owner giving bag to shopper / Adobe Stock

In a move TCF Bank says delivers on its recent pledge to “take action for racial equality and social justice,” the Detroit-based company said it would loan $1 billion over the next 5 years to women and minority-led businesses in several cities the bank serves, including Detroit.

At a Thursday morning press conference, TCF Executive Chairman Gary Torgow called the program “audacious in its size and ambition.”

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

After hearing more than four hours worth of comments from the public and debating amongst themselves past midnight, Grand Rapids city commissioners did not make any dramatic changes to the police department budget.

Commissioners did vote on an amendment to the city’s budget which will result in a reduction of nearly $400,000 to the police department’s budget this year. Those changes will move the Oversight and Public Accountability Department out of the Grand Rapids Police Department, and increase its staffing. The amendment will also create a new civilian assistant director for the police department, a new communications manager and reduce costs by cutting overtime and supplies, among other changes.

dumpster on fire with protesters gathered around it
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis prompted large protests in Grand Rapids. But Grand Rapids has its own history of troubling interactions between police and residents. Now the city is having tough conversations about the future of policing there.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

At least three commissioners in Grand Rapids signaled support for cutting the police department budget during a meeting on Tuesday morning. But because of a rare provision in the city’s charter, those cuts would be limited.

In 1995, voters in Grand Rapids approved a provision to require that at least 32% of the city’s general fund must go toward police services.