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GRPD representatives respond to allegations of bias

Mike Maycroft and Any Bingel address the public about the study.

Today, two Grand Rapids Police Department representatives addressed a recent study that stated that black motorists were twice as likely to be pulled over in Grand Rapids.

In April, a study by Lamberth Consulting of the Grand Rapids Police Department titled “Grand Rapids Implicit Bias Training and Traffic Stop Analysis” was released.

The study report was released to police officers shortly before the report was released to the public.

“This didn’t give us a lot of time to react and absorb the information,” said Mike Maycroft, president of the Grand Rapids Police Command Officers Association. “We were kind of blindsided.”

The study reported that black motorists were twice as likely to be pulled over by Grand Rapids police officers. Hispanic motorists were also more likely to be pulled over than white motorist, but less likely than black motorists.

The report featured data that showed the rates of black and Hispanic traffic stops growing between 2004 to 2015.

Former GRPD chief, Harry Dolan, who is now the CEO of Dolan Consulting Group, saw flaws in the study. A critique of the study produced by Richard Johnson was recently released.

The critique stated that the data collectors that watched the streets for traffic stops, may have been bias against the GRPD.

According to the critique, members of the public who have previously attended meetings to accuse the department for mistreating African Americans were data collectors. Johnson attributed this information to a passage in the Lamberth study.

Johnson also pointed out that the data in the Lamberth study was collected without checks and balances. Johnson also surfaced many other problems found in the study like the public knowing of the observed locations.

“The rationale for GRPOA and the GRPCOA release is not a retort or denial to the original report,” Maycroft said. “But as a reminder to the city management, city commission and the public, that in a politically charged atmosphere as what we are experiencing right now, we as a community can’t afford to take an incomplete view point on important issues like this.”

The two associations want to encourage the residents of Grand Rapids to “slow it down.” Maycroft said that he wants people to review Dr. Johnson’s report to bring in a wider understanding what the true facts are.

“Both of our associations and memberships are eager and willing to create a better understanding of our work and challenges to the public,” Maycroft said.

Both associations are hoping to create more relaxed and open settings to share the GRPD stories and concerns rather than large public events. Maycroft worries that large events could possibly make the division between the GRPD and the public greater.

“I am thankful to the citizens of the Grand Rapid community and the majority support us,” said Andy Bingel, president of the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association. “But, I would like to call on the community leaders to help us build a bond with those who are less supportive. With their help, we can make Grand Rapids the model of police-community relations.”

Both representatives feel that many residents of Grand Rapids are fighting against them and aren’t willing to allow room for conversation.

“Let’s turn off the hate language and turn on the rational voices,” Maycroft said. “We as police officers will continue to answer every call, we hope our leader will answer ours.”


  1. Just for people who have not read the Johnson report, I would like to point out some issues the police obviously have with this study. Just one of the things in the Lamberth study I found to be very troubling, was the amazing accuracy rate for race identification. The below information was obtained and paraphrased from the Johnson report.

    With college students trained in social science research methods, pairs of college students were unable to determine race 39% of the time in an Oakland County. In another New Jersey study, high definition photographs were used to determine race. Multi-racial teams of three then examined the photographs to determine race. Despite having high pixel photographs and unlimited time, these teams could not determine race 38% of the time. So the inability to determine race is pretty consistent between these two cited studies in different parts of the country.

    In the new GRPD Lamberth study though, they used single raters at locations, not pairs or three raters per location. Lamberth also used people who attended the highly charged meetings according to Lamberth himself. Unbelievably, the very little trained highly emotionally charged single rater with the proverbial ax to grind made racial determinations on almost 98 out of every 100 cars that went by them! Whereas trained social researchers, even those using high definition cameras could only pick the race of the driver for 61 out of every 100 cars. A 2.2% error rate for Lamberth’s study compared to 38-39% over highly trained social researchers and high definition cameras…. The Lamberth raters were 16.5 times more accurate than two different other studies. 1,650% better if my math is right. So basically in the Lamberth study a driver’s race was called out at midnight even though the driver may have even had dark tinted windows it appears. And to distort the data, I would suggest white was the favorite color of the Lamberth rater during the study. I would like to see if driving populations between the 2004 and 2016 study, although 12 years apart, changed dramatically. Meaning at midnight in the SE parts of the inner city, did the 2012 study exhibit a much larger number of white drivers as opposed to the 2004 study?

    And, my own personal point is this. If a pair of raters, maybe 3, cannot determine race 38-39% of the time when that is the ONLY thing they are looking for, why is it assumed that police officers can see the race of the person on every stop as well as note the lack of turn signal, speed on the radar gun, etc? I can tell you I had no idea what was driving the car I stopped, let alone the race. If you doubt this, the next time you are on the highway following someone, determine their race if you can. Now do it in the dark…

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