Commissioner: Revised GRPD youth policy 'a big step'


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It's become a highly-criticized issue for the Grand Rapids Police Department: how officers deal with kids.

Several times in the past year, the Grand Rapids Police Department faced backlash for instances when officers handcuffed children.

"When you're handcuffing kids it just makes you the bad guy in town," Kent County Commissioner and radio host Robert S. Womack told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.

The outrage ultimately led the department to create a new youth policy. The guidelines released in March detailed how officers should better deal with kids in high-stress situations. 

"I thought it was a joke. It just wasn't strong enough," Womack said of the original policy. "They were dealing with children from the concept as if they were seen as criminals or a danger."

Womack was an outspoken critic of the policy after the police briefly arrested a 12-year-old girl on Oct. 9. Womack had planned to hold a protest after the police chief defended officers' response, but instead agreed to holding a public forum with GRPD Chief David Rahinsky to hear community members' concerns.

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