West Central Michigan
The QDMA REACH Program
REACH is an aggressive national education and outreach program from the Quality Deer Management Association that benefits hunters, landowners and deer managers in several ways. REACH is the acronym for Research, Educate, Advocate, Certify and Hunt.
Dave Bopp, President
Jim Blaszak, Vice President:
GRPD captain sees 'better cooperation'
Latest in a series of community meetings
There was no coffee, but there were five GRPD captains, a lieutenant and Chief Kevin Belk at "Coffee with the Captain," the latest in a series of community meetings aimed at stemming the tide of violence in Grand Rapids.
The event was held late Tuesday afternoon at First Reformed Church at 636 Bates SE.
Pastor Bryan Blakely organized this event because he "felt that there needed to be a better relationship between the community and the police department."
The pastor said the culture that discourages some in his flock from sharing information with the police has to end.
"There is one other thing that has been a barrier for us in the African-American community, which is the center of Grand Rapids, which is primarily African-American, and that is we are very fragmented."
Capt. Eric Payne said he's been to many community meetings over the course of his career designed to get at the root cause of violence. Part of the problem, he said, is a culture that doesn't trust the police -- but he feels we may be turning a corner.
"I can say, and I don't know if it is because of these meetings or the awareness that we have tried to raise about how important it is to call, and certainly not in all instances, but we have had better cooperation."
He's not sure exactly why, but credits the current effort.
"All the ministers were doing something independently, but what a force if we all came together and was working together."
When all is said and done, though, Pastor Blakely wants to make sure something actually gets done
"The meetings are good, let's meet, but let's come out of that meeting with a plan and let's actually be proactive."