The Grand Rapids City Council established the Police Community Advisory Board at last week’s meeting. The council has sought to establish such a board ever since the Civil Service Commission was dissolved in January of 2015.
Disbanding of the commission came in the wake of the resignation of all three commission members over reinstatement of police officer, Brent Bradley. The newly established Police Community Advisory Board will identify and focus on public safety issues and act in an advisory capacity to the Police Department and City Council. Recommendations made by the board will not be binding on the chief of police, city administrator, mayor or city council.
The board will not receive or review complaints leveled against the police and will have no role in police personnel matters. The board is comprised of seven members who are representative of the community. Duties of the board will include enhancement of police-community relations, recommendations regarding use of technology, acting as a liaison between the community and the Police Department, promoting public awareness and soliciting public input regarding the city’s police services and programs, assisting in community outreach efforts, and assisting in the budget process.
Members are expected to be good listeners, able to analyze programs and services and recommend changes, and assist in providing community members with information about police department policies and programs.
The board will be responsible for drafting bylaws and rules of procedure that will be forwarded to the city council for consideration. The council will have the authority to modify the bylaws, rules of procedure and operating policies. The board will convene for four regularly scheduled meetings per year.
The city council decided to evaluate applicants to the commission using a scoring matrix. The range of scores that an applicant could receive ranged from one to five in such areas as police department knowledge, motivation to serve, willingness to listen and public service experience. The city council appointed seven members to the board in staggered terms from one to three years in length. They are: Conley Janssen, Tim George, Erikka Demuth, Jackie Dowell, Tom Neustrom, Weldon Braxton, and Lorna Mix.
In other business, the council:
• Accepted a bid of $33,066.12 from Grand Rapids GM for the purchase of a new pickup truck.
• Authorized Public Works to enter into an agreement with Towmaster Truck equipment in the amount of $126,737.00 for the installation of snowplow equipment, dump body, hydraulic systems and other fabrication.
• Adopted a resolution requesting Governor Mark Dayton to reconsider his stance on blocking Twin Metals from accessing state lands.
• Approved the verified claims for the period March 8 to March 21 in the amount of $1,178,928.53 of which $376,031.25 were bond payments.