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Kalamazoo Officials Say Report On Public Safety Is Just Start Of Review

John McNeill

Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema says a report on how public safety handled protests last summer will be analyzed and more meetings will be held to seek public comment. The 115 page report from the OIR Group was presented during a special city commission meeting Tuesday night.

Ritsema says the city plans to issue a final report, that will include a response to each of the consultant’s 40 recommendations.

“We definitely want to involve the community as we move forward, in how we show our progress in this, and also lean on them to help us be better.”

The report credited Public Safety for many of its actions during Black Lives Matter Protests and a march by the white nationalist group the Proud Boys last summer. The OIR group also called for improvements, such as better communication.

Many people calling into the meeting disagreed, saying the report had many errors and didn’t add anything new. But Kalamazoo City Commissioner Chris Praedel says the city has made a lot of progress in a short amount of time, and the report will help continue moving forward.

The chair of Kalamazoo’s Public Safety Appeals and Review Board, Vernon Payne welcome the report and said it should be read carefully.

“We now have these situations documented by a third party. That will serve us well going forward as a community.”

Mayor David Anderson says the city can rebuild trust, by admitting mistakes, and working to correct them.

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