KENTWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT INTRODUCES BODY CAMERA PROGRAM
“The Kentwood Police Department has consistently placed great emphasis on community engagement, accountability and transparency,” Kentwood Police Chief Richard Roberts said. “With the implementation of this technology, we can build on those efforts to continue to serve our community with excellence and grow trust. We know the trust of our community can only be earned by impartiality and fairness in daily policing functions and outreach to engage and educate the community. ”The department plans to get all the department’s officers through the training and issue them body cameras by the end of May. “This technology is beneficial for our community and our police officers,” Roberts said. “It serves as another tool to ensure the safety and security of our community and the residents we serve.
“The Kentwood Police Department appreciates Mayor Kepley and the city commissioners in supporting the department’s goal in implementing this technology. ”KPD joins eight other Kent County agencies that have implemented or are in the process of implementing body cameras. KPD has long utilized a variety of programs and engagement efforts to strengthen relationships with the community, address immediate needs and ensure safety. Those efforts include:
A data-driven approach to crime and traffic safety program that integrates location-based crime and traffic data to establish effective and efficient methods for deploying law enforcement and other resources. The goal is to reduce the incidence of crime, crashes and traffic violations in the community.
An interactive crime mapping portal that further fosters awareness of crimes and builds trust through transparency. Data is automated daily, allowing residents to stay up to date with incidents that occur in their neighborhoods.
A school resource officer program that is a partnership between KPD, the community and schools to reduce crime, increase security and promote a positive role model between youth and law enforcement. KPD has three dedicated certified police officers assigned to specific school districts in the city.
Operation P.R.I.C.E., which stands for Preventing Retail Theft Through Initiative, Collaboration and Enforcement. It has had a proven track record in helping local businesses decrease incidents of retail fraud since its launch in 2014.
- Drug Take Back program, which provides community members with a free and secure location to safely dispose of unused and/or unwanted prescription medications. This reduces potential accidental poisoning, misuse and overdose.
Participation in community events such as National Night Out, Touch-A-Truck and Trunk-or-Treat to build meaningful relationships with residents. Officers also attend Neighborhood Watch meetings to provide crime and safety information and strengthen community relations.
Members of the Kentwood Police Department recently presented 17 certificates of appreciation to students, mentors and a local business for their generous donation of a Robotic Moving Target System.
About a year and a half ago, the department explored the possibility of acquiring a mobile target system to aid officers in training, but found the high cost was not within the budget. Knowing East Kentwood High School had a talented robotics program, the department contacted “Red Storm Robotics” Coaches Wendy Ljungren and Adam Veenendaal to gauge students’ interest in building one. The team agreed to tackle the endeavor with guidance from their Davenport University mentors.
Throughout the summer of 2018, the department met with Coach Veenendaal to discuss the project specs as the robotic class worked on a framed-design robot platform driven by eight motors and speeds. The department then enlisted the help of Target Solutions owner Deb Kelch, who along with her team, assisted with the design and fabrication of the top and side panels to complete the project. Target Solutions generously donated all the design time, materials and labor.
The mobile target system was used during training in August of this year. The unit performed very well with mobility, speed, safety and a range of up to 270 yards.
“It is mobile, versatile and opens the doors to the quality of our officer training for years to come,” Hillen said. “This underscores the relationship we have with our schools and community. We are thankful for the generosity of community businesses, students and mentors for taking on this project.”
While awarding the certificates of appreciation to the Red Storm Robotics team and its mentors, and Target Solutions, Hillen stated: “As direct result of your actions, officers will receive the best firearms training available. You are to be commended for your positive example of volunteerism and service to your community. This award is presented on behalf of a grateful community and Police Department for a job well done.”
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