State groups strengthen police, community ties

Capital News Service
LANSING — As communities across the country confront mistrust between police and citizens, organizations across Michigan are working to build relationships that officials hope can avoid unrest when something goes wrong. For two decades, parts of the state have formed trust-building initiatives to ensure lines of communication are open to address incidents such as police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, or North Charleston, South Carolina. “It’s very important that these relationships are being built and maintained, because it’s very challenging to build a relationship in the midst of a crisis,” said Patrick Miles Jr., a U.S. attorney who serves as co-chair on the Grand Rapids Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust. “It can be detrimental if no relationship is there.”

The group, one of five so-called ALPACTs across Michigan, includes law enforcement officials, prosecutors, local government officials, faith-based leaders, advocacy groups and individuals from the local community. Other regions with ALPACTs are Detroit, Saginaw, Flint and Benton Harbor.