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Grand Rapids Police Chief: A fearful immigrant community makes it hard for us to do our jobs

Tensions have heightened between police departments and communities across the country.
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Tensions have heightened between police departments and communities across the country.

Stateside's conversation with David Rahinsky, Grand Rapids Police Chief.

"Don't be afraid to call us."

That's what Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said in a recent meeting of anxious people at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan.

The meeting addressed concerns from people who don't know how and if President Trump's immigration crackdown involves local police agencies.

"The last thing we want them to be reluctant to do is to reach out to our agency if they are the victim of crime or if they witness a crime," Rahinsky said. "So I wanted to make it clear, the differences between federal immigration policy and local policing."

According to Rahinsky, crime in Grand Rapids has been declining in recent years due, in large part, to the relationships law enforcement has developed with immigrant communities. He's worried that if those relationships are severed, it would be difficult for police officers to do their job.

For the full interview, listen above. It includes Rahinsky's take on an open letter submitted by 61 police chiefs calling for federal officials to not involve local police in their immigration raids.

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