Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thank You GRPD

thank you grpd 1238
Outside of Police HQ downtown

We owe these guys some big thanks for their heroic work during last Thursday's tragic shooting spree. Mayor Heartwell and the City Commission did just that this morning.

The Grand Rapids City Commission honored the Grand Rapids Police Department officers and command staff who dealt with Rodrick Dantzler's murderous rampage last week, with a brief ceremony Tuesday morning.

“I want to commend the extraordinary efforts of the officers, which saved lives,” said Mayor George Heartwell, citing the officer who drew Dantzler’s fire away from an intended victim near the police department headquarters downtown.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk asked everyone gathered to remember the friends and family of Dantzler’s victims.

Belk praised his negotiation team, who ensured three people walked out of the hostage house who otherwise may have been killed.

“It humbles me as a chief to think of the great works that they do,” he said.

News of Betty Ford's death has pretty much taken center stage now, as the department had to instantly move on to dealing with the logistics surrounding her funeral. I'm sure they will perform admirably, as they always do.

During the standoff, I was struck by the normal calls that were coming in amidst all the intense drama. Here we had police actually inside the house during hostage negotiations, talking in hushed tones as they moved about, and you would hear dispatch say something like, "Reports of trouble breathing at... accident on the corner of... domestic disturbance at..." and so on. And off they would go to answer those calls too.

These guys are the social workers of the world, responding to our crises when people are highly agitated and distressed, never knowing when a situation could get out of hand and turn deadly. They put their lives on the line everyday. To me, that is the ultimate in public service, and we can't give them enough in pay and benefits. It saddens me to think that some would demand they sacrifice more - when they are already willing to sacrifice everything to serve the public.

Thank you GRPD. This citizen is sure glad you are around.