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I was ignored and blocked from asking to see the GVSU Police Academy class curriculum for potential GRPD recruits

May 9, 2023

On Tuesday, April 25th, the Grand Rapids City Commission approved a recommendation from the Fiscal Committee to authorize Grand Rapids Police Department recruit classes to attend Grand Valley State University Police Academy for a total cost of $93,560.

The Fiscal Committee Agenda Packet for April 25 also states:

The process of hiring non-certified employees will broaden and increase the candidate pool of individuals that have a drive to serve the public. The anticipated class of ten recruits will run from May to August of 2023. Three have already paid for their own academy costs, which GRPD will reimburse directly should they successfully complete the program. Seven will be paid for by GRPD but reimbursed by Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) Public Safety Academy Assistance Program should funding be approved. The estimated cost of the training and certification for these ten candidates, which includes tuition, student fees, and uniform expenses totals $93,560.

There were several people who spoke during the first public comment period, most of which opposed the $93,560 being spent on new recruits. Some suggested that the money could better be spent on housing or other community needs, rather than on potential new recruits for the GRPD.

In response to the opposition to this additional spending by the GRPD, 3rd Ward Commissioner Kelsey Perdue stated she believed that, “in order to have better policing, we need better training.” Now, to be clear, the $93,560 that was approved on April 25th is not about “providing better training,” it is to pay GVSU for a class for potential GRPD recruits. The GRPD may or may not accept those who attend the GVSU classes at their Police Academy.

GVSU Police Academy

According to the GVSU Police Academy page, it states: 

The Grand Valley State University Police Academy educates and trains police recruits so they graduate with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to begin a successful career in law enforcement. Grand Valley is known as a leader in the state for police academy training and has been setting the bar for law enforcement for over 40 years.

In addition, the GVSU Police Academy website says:

The vast majority of the instruction comes from local law-enforcement officers with a wealth of knowledge and years of experience. The academy is rigorous but your instructors and support staff will be there to support you from the time you enter to the time you graduate. This kind of intimate support is what GVSU is known for and it applies to the Academy as well.

The cost of the classes that were approved by the Grand Rapids City Commission on April 25th, run from May through August of 2023. I inquired about the curriculum for the GVSU Police Academy Courses, through their online portal on April 29th, but still haven’t received any response. Then, when I sent an e-mail to the Director of Training, Geoff Collard, this was their response: Your message to has been blocked. 

In all my years of using gmail, I have never been blocked by any government, corporate or academic institution. So much for transparency.

This lack of transparency on the curriculum being used in the classes for potential GRPD recruits is somewhat disturbing, but not surprising. However, it does raise the question if Commissioner Perdue knew what she was talking about regarding better training. It seems unlikely that she has seen or read the curriculum being used by the GVSU Police Academy, thus making her comments all that more ridiculous and out of touch with what is actually happening with potential GRPD recruits. The public deserves better and should demand better. I encourage others to fill out the request field from the GVSU Police Academy and send Geoff Collard an e-mail ( message as well demanding to see the curriculum being used for potential GRPD recruits.

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