Grand Rapids to completely relieve police officers of their parking enforcement duties
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – This summer, Grand Rapids will complete the final stage of transitioning all parking enforcement functions away from sworn police officers, freeing them up more to tackle more serious issues and the police. of area.
From July 1, the city’s transport department, Mobile GR, will tackle all parking enforcement violations and deal with all parking complaints.
Mobile GR currently handles the bulk of parking enforcement, but ticketing odd parking violations and parking complaint calls are the responsibilities of the police department, its civilian volunteers, and the dispatch center.
Josh Naramore, director of Mobile GR, told commissioners this week that an effort of “the utmost importance” will be to balance a proactive and reactive approach in parking enforcement efforts.
“As part of this transition we will also find a balance to be proactive and responsive with the parking enforcement and really try to step up our efforts to focus on education and awareness, especially around violations. odd and even security and others ”. Naramore said.
Naramore followed up with MLive / The Grand Rapids Press saying it could mean warnings instead of tickets for first-time violators, but, he added, those proceedings have yet to be finalized. .
He pointed to education efforts in the past where, when parking regulations changed, Mobile GR staff delayed ticketing during the first weeks of the change. Instead of issuing tickets, staff posted educational flyers and notices instead of tickets.
Transition of parking app better aligns city with a study published in spring 2019 who, in part, found that Grand Rapids has a sufficient number of sworn police officers, but that some tasks, such as parking enforcement, false alarms and minor traffic accidents, should be left to civilian personnel. The change would free officers to carry out their most serious responsibilities requiring sworn personnel.
The ministry has 297 sworn officers.
In the summer of 2019, city leaders moved in this direction, expand the Department’s volunteer parking enforcement program both in the number of civilian voluntary ticket offices and the range of parking violations they might issue.
Police officials said Tuesday that the department is still trying to find a private company to respond to minor traffic accidents and continues to examine how the department deploys officers for alarms and other “quality of life” issues.
“This is another progressive step on our journey towards police reimaging in Grand Rapids and allows our officers to focus more on neighborhood policing strategies,” said Police Chief Eric Payne. . “This new agreement with Mobile GR is in line with our strategic goal of leveraging partnerships and technology to improve services, reduce crime and increase efficiency.”
In the past two fiscal years, the city has issued tens of thousands of parking tickets.
From July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, a total of 91,887 tickets were issued, according to city data. The following year, 73,098 tickets were issued.
Grand Rapids officials were unable to separate the number of tickets issued by the type of staff who issued them, making it unclear how long officers, not civilian volunteers or staff of Mobile GR, have moved on to issue tickets.
Payne was unable to estimate how much time officers will save by switching to Mobile GR to handle all parking control tasks.
During this first period, the Police Department’s dispatch center received 4,675 calls for non-urgent parking complaints. During the following period, the center received 3,365 calls of the same nature.
These calls, from July, will be routed and handled by Mobile GR.
About half of the tickets issued during these periods, or about 42,000 to 50,000 of them, depending on the year, were downtown parking meter violations.
The second highest problem was parking in a no-parking zone, then odd-even violations, and in fourth place, meter violations outside of downtown.
The city institutes odd parking restrictions from November to March each year. On odd-numbered days, vehicles will only be allowed to park on the side of the street labeled limited access parking between 1 a.m. and 6 p.m. On even days people must park on the odd side during this time.
Currently, Mobile GR’s parking enforcement personnel do not issue odd-even violations, unlike the police and their volunteers. Over the past two fiscal years, approximately 7,100 to 4,800 odd-numbered notes were issued, depending on the year.
Mobile GR’s parking control staff consists of 10 violation controllers and a supervisor who are absent Monday through Saturday on staggered shifts between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm. There are currently three vacancies among the 10 violation monitors.
About three to four seasonal employees will be added in late fall, and continue through early spring, to help with odd parking violations.