GVPD adds new technology, goals for the upcoming year


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Adam Trombley, Staff Reporter

With most of Grand Valley State University’s population centered around the Allendale campus, many people often don’t realize that the Grand Valley Police Department has a major presence in keeping the GVSU community safe in Grand Rapids. Although the Grand Valley Police Department (GVPD) is relatively new to the Pew campus, Capt. Kourosh Khatir has been able to expand and improve the department’s role in the Grand Rapids area.

“It’s been interesting this year, the flow of students on campus has been reduced but Grand Rapids has had what seems like an increase in calls for service,” Khatir said. “Their violent crime has increased a little bit and our internal traffic has reduced significantly, but the city has gotten busier and their calls for service I think increased overall.”

With only around 350 people living on the Pew campus and around what Khatir figures to be about 6,000 people visiting the campus on a normal day, larceny is the main incident reported to GVPD. While the numbers of incidents reported may have been going down, the department is still staying busy by helping other departments in the area.

“We have a number of officers who are a part of a team called the Mobile Field Force,” Khatir said. “If there’s a moment when an agency doesn’t have enough resources or people to handle an event, they call for help from surrounding units and agencies.”

Originally, the Pew campus was patrolled by security units, but since the implementation of the GVPD downtown in 2018, there are now three sworn officers who work with the security teams to help keep the community safe. The security staff downtown does not carry weapons and they cannot carry out arrests, but the sworn police officers from both the Pew and Allendale campuses are trained to handle both sites, making them interchangeable.

One thing that sets the downtown team apart from Allendale’s unit is their newly-implemented fingerprinting scanner.

“That’s a new program we instituted beginning this year and that’s really a service to our community,” Khatir said. “We’ve had a good response and were happy to be able to offer it (as an) in-house solution to our students.”

Located downtown in the department’s office, the new scanner has made it seamless for people wanting to be fingerprinted to do so. The program has been successful so far for students and staff, and students can pay for it through their school accounts if they choose to.

Not only has their technology been changed, one of the main things the department has been working on this year is to become one of the state’s first schools to hold and maintain Commission Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) certification.

“I think it helps us stand apart and continue our mission of being a good police department,” Khatir said. “We try to be leaders among our peers in this field. Our goal is always student success and our goal is to make sure that students have the department that is in tune with what they need.”

The GVPD has recently hired an accreditation manager to help make sure they are following the correct procedures in order to become CALEA certified. The process to get this nationally-recognized accreditation usually takes three years and the department is on track to finish within that time frame.