Kzoo police’s 4 big mistakes

A report by an independent investigator found 4 areas where Kalamazoo police fall short - and ways it can get better.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) did a poor job of policing Black Lives Matter protests and a Proud Boys rally held last summer. That isn’t in question. But what specifically went wrong and how could it improve?

A multi-month investigation by the OIR Group revealed several areas where KDPS fell short during and after the events of last summer. Investigators presented their findings to city officials during a public meeting Tuesday night.

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A review by MLive summarized those into four primary mistakes:

  • Officers didn’t wear bodycams. And KDPS didn’t force them to.
  • KDPS wrongly blamed peace protestors for the violence that broke out during the Proud Boys rally in August of 2020.
  • KDPS’ own record-keeping made it hard to judge what went wrong after the fact.
  • KDPS refused to even consider that it might have done something wrong.

Fortunately, investigators also provided recommendations for how KDPS can improve going forward. The OIR Group’s report includes a 40-point list of things the department and city leadership can do to make sure similar problems don’t happen in the future.

City Manager Jim Ritsema said leaders will review the report’s findings and come up with a plan for implementing key changes within the next 90 days.


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