GVPD continues to expand downtown coverage with help of Capt. Khatir


Courtesy / Lanthorn

Sean Cauvet, News Editor

In the last few years, GVPD Pew Campus Capt. Koroush Khatir started to expand police coverage on the downtown campus, and it’s not why one would expect. 

“It’s not that we promptly decided and it wasn’t precipitated based on something that happened,” Khatir said. “There was no big surge in crime. This goes back a couple of years where the Board of Trustees approved five police officer positions for the downtown campus.”

Khatir explained that although they got approved for more officers, the process of laying the groundwork took a while.

“It took us a while since no law enforcement officers had worked downtown before,” Khatir said. “We had to lay the groundwork and do the things that were necessary to get a police department downtown off the ground.”

JP West was the first officer that was assigned to the downtown campus. From there, Khatir has started to put together the vision that he had made in his head years ago.

“We started out with one police officer, about a year and a half ago, then we added a second one,” Khatir said. “Finally, we were able to add a third one. As we’ve been hiring police officers, we’re able to release them from the Allendale campus to come here.”

Khatir described the process of hiring officers for the downtown campus as a lengthy one. This is due to the amount of time it takes to train officers and get them ready for the job.

“One we hire somebody, they have to go through a lengthy process of training, being acclimated and there’s usually a contractually-driven bid process and the officers get to bid on shifts and what areas they want to work,” Khatir said. “Out of those that bid to come downtown, they get selected and come.”

Khatir said he hopes to have a full roster of officers in the near future.

“Five officer positions were authorized downtown,” Khatir said. “We’re hoping to end up with four police officers and a sergeant to fill out the downtown division.”

So far, Khatir has added Andrew Dusendang last February, followed by Betsy Wenk. As for the whole process, Khatir said that they’ve built everything around their new office on 609 Watson.

“Fall of 2018, we established the first officer downtown,” Khatir said. “In anticipation of that, we built out the area at Watson. Before that, it didn’t really exist. The security presence downtown was split between an office in the parking ramp and the information parking counter at the Eberhard center. Those aren’t around anymore, and we’ve all moved to Watson.”

When asked about the difference between the two GVSU campuses, Khatir referenced the size and location as the most notable.

“Downtown is a little bit different from Allendale,” Khatir. “It’s no secret that we are in an urban area downtown, as opposed to Allendale which is kind of suburban and self-contained for the most part.”

Khatir said he’s looking to add another officer soon, but he’s not sure exactly when.