Letter: Kent County police care

The role law enforcement plays in our communities is under a microscope, creating an intense debate in our connected world.

As leaders of law enforcement in Kent County, we care about our communities, and we care about our interactions with the citizens we proudly serve.

It’s easy to take the lens of national news and turn it on Michigan. But we have taken steps through proactive community outreach and other initiatives to address issues that others are only now starting to discuss. We have worked in concert with one another, an approach that has allowed us to lower the crime rate over the years and keeping it relatively low, all while treating people with dignity and respect.

We have achieved these results by investing in education and training that have allowed our departments to address some of the concerns about racial inequity and fair treatment. We have worked hard to be inclusive in our hiring and sensitive in our training, learning de-escalation tactics to limit troubling scenarios and gaining knowledge about the different needs of our diverse populations so our interactions come from a better place of understanding.

We don’t think the job is done. We know this is a constant process and will expand on these efforts to ensure we are doing our police work from the standpoint of understanding.

While we in law enforcement have been shaken by events in Dallas, Berrien County and Baton Rouge in recent days, we also have been heartened by the outpouring of kindness we have seen from our citizens.

It is our privilege to serve our communities. Our commitment is to provide quality law enforcement services every day and to work well together so we can maintain the level of trust we have earned.

F/Lt. Chris McIntire, MSP Rockford Post Commander

Chief Dave Jones, Rockford Police Department

Chief Daniel Steere, Grandville Police Department

Sheriff Lawrence Stelma, Kent County Sheriff’s Department

Chief Greg Long, Walker Police Department

Chief Andrew Milanowski, Sparta Police Department

Chief David Rahinsky, Grand Rapids Police Department

Chief Thomas Hillen, Kentwood Police Department

Chief James Carmody, Wyoming Department of Public Safety

Chief James Reamsma, Sand Lake Police Department

Lt. Robert Decker, Grand Rapids Community College

Chief Mark Herald, East Grand Rapids Police Department