By Sherry Sokolowski
From medical emergencies to bullets found in the Bostwick parking ramp, the Grand Rapids Community College Police Department encountered a wide variety of situations from July 14 through July 28.
Elevator Emergency Resolved as a Miscommunication
At 1:22 p.m. on July 14, Officer Zack Penniman was dispatched to an emergency in an elevator at the Devos Campus in the White building. Penniman met with a Grand Rapids Community College custodian who said he was able to get the person out. She was not stuck in the elevator, she just did not have the key that was needed to get to the second floor of the building. She told Penniman that she was unaware that she needed a key and the scene was cleared.
Fire Alarm Goes Off in the ATC
At 2:35 p.m. on July 16, Officer Paul Coulson was contacted by someone from EPS security in regards to a fire alarm going off in room 136 of the Applied Technology Center. EPS had contacted the Grand Rapids Fire Department and Coulson met them at the building. To find the cause of the alarm, Coulson and the fire department checked the parking level riser room and the sprinkler room. The panel in room 136 indicated that it was due to a water flow issue. No fire was found and the panel was reset.
GRCC Employee in a Medical Emergency
Also on July 16 at 7:59 a.m., Officer Timothy Nelson was told that a GRCC employee had called to report that another employee was not feeling well due to a new heart medication they were taking. The employee also mentioned that they were feeling dizzy and potentially having a medical emergency. Officer Nelson and Officer Martin Ruiz went to Winchester Alley in Raleigh J. Finkelstein hall to check on the man. Once they arrived, they found him sitting at a table in the maintenance room with his head down. He raised his head and the officers noticed his face was very red. He also told the officers that he couldn’t stand up and didn’t feel like himself. He had taken his medication at 6:30 a.m. that day and started feeling unwell around 7 a.m. In the past, the man said he had two heart attacks with the last one being around six years ago. The Grand Rapids Fire Department arrived to monitor the man until AMR arrived. They took the man to the hospital and at the time they left, the man was in stable condition.
Man in Need of Medical Care Found Outside the Student Center
On July 21 at 7:49 p.m., Officer Zack Penniman was walking through the Bostwick Commons when he noticed a man laying on the ground near the Student Center. He asked the man if he was alright and the man replied that he could not move. He stated that he was discharged from the hospital the night before and he tried walking home after being released. He had made it as far as the GRCC Commons before he got tired and rested on the benches. He said he slept on the ground and once on the ground, his legs stopped working. The man said he wanted an ambulance to return to the hospital. AMR arrived and transported the man to the hospital.
.45-Caliber Bullet Found in Parking Ramp
On July 26, Officer Timothy Nelson was patrolling with Officer Thomas Stasiak when he was dispatched to the Grand Rapids Community College Police Department in regards to a suspicious situation. Once he arrived, Dispatch gave him what looked like a .45-caliber pistol bullet that was brought to the department by a GRCC employee who had already left campus. Nelson contacted the employee who told him that he found it in the Bostwick parking ramp. He was walking, noticed what looked like a piece of copper on the ground and picked it up thinking it’d be useful for scrap metal. He realized it was a pistol round and therefore brought it to the police department to make a report. The employee returned to campus to show the officers where he found it in the southeast corner of the Bostwick ramp near the inside of the cement wall. He also mentioned that he didn’t see or hear anything nearby when he initially found the bullet and there were no additional witnesses. The officers searched the area to see if there were any signs of impact or damage to property, neither of which were found. The bullet was then disposed of at the GRCC Police Department.
Bostwick Parking Ramp Gate Arm Damaged
At 7:45 a.m. on July 28, Officer Martin Ruiz was sent to level 6 of the Bostwick parking ramp in regards to a damaged gate arm. Ruiz took a photo of the damage, and the Ellis Parking manager was told about the damage. There were no suspects.
Drunken Man Leads to Use of Force
At 2:14 p.m. on July 25, Officer Thomas Stasiak got a call from the Grand Rapids Police Department in regards to a person who was apparently stuck in an elevator in the Bostwick parking ramp. He was also told that the individual was highly intoxicated and was given the man’s name. Shortly later, Stasiak got another call saying that medical and fire were also now responding because the man was complaining that he couldn’t breathe and was claustrophobic.
Once Stasiak arrived, he found a bottle of brandy on the ground next to a piece of cardboard that appeared to be a pillow. He listened for any noise and didn’t hear anything, so he pushed the call button on the elevator and it immediately opened. Stasiak asked the man if he was alright to which he responded, “leave me alone.” He then told the man he was campus police and that he had to leave, and the bottle of alcohol would not be going with him.
The man said, “you can’t do that,” and began to stand up. Stasiak re-identified himself as campus police because he wasn’t in uniform, while trying to coax the man out of the elevator. In a split second, the man bursted towards the bottle and grabbed it. Stasiak grabbed his arm and the man tried to pull away. This continued while Stasiak kept telling him to put the bottle down. Stasiak eventually grabbed the man’s other arm and placed him against the wall, grabbing the alcohol. He then released the man who began yelling that he had no right to take his bottle.
Stasiak noticed a small abrasion on the man’s right shoulder from where he was in contact with the wall. The officer went back to his car and got his badge and police identification to show the man. Once he returned, the man was complaining about the abrasion on his shoulder and said, “I’m going to have your badge.” He repeatedly asked for the officer’s name and badge number and then asked him to write that information down.
Stastiak told him that he already fulfilled his obligation by showing him his badge and identification. Eventually, the Grand Rapids Fire Department arrived, and the man said he didn’t want to be seen by the ambulance anymore. The man was given a trespassing warning and was told to leave GRCC’s property. He left of his own free will, and Stasiak later submitted a use of force report.
Upset Woman Arrested on Campus
On July 19, Officer Kaye Newberry was asked by Chief Rebecca Whitman to go to the south end of the Bostwick Commons in regards to a report of a homeless person. Newberry was helping a lost student when she got the call and said she’d be there in a moment. A few minutes later, she heard over the radio that Officer Ryan Ford was being sent to the same location. Chief Whitman asked Newberry to bring her cruiser on the sidewalk once she arrived. When Newberry got out of the car, she could hear a lady on the bench yelling at Chief Whitman. The lady had all sorts of items scattered about her. Newberry found out that Whitman asked for identification and the woman refused to comply and was asking the construction workers and GRCC employees for money. Newberry and Ford began to speak with the lady and received identification. She would only talk with Newberry and Ford and was very angry at Whitman. She continuously yelled at her and used profane language if she got near her. The woman said that she didn’t know who was asking for identification, and the Chief didn’t have any badge or police identification on and this is why she was so upset.
After searching their system, they found two warrants out for her arrest. The first one was for trespassing and the second was a refusal to identify charge. After talking to her for a while, Officer Newberry told her about the two warrants and said they would be arresting her. She was asked to stand up and put her hands behind her back but she didn’t listen. She had at least eight bags of items, four coats, blankets, and three purses. She had a walker that could be used as a chair too. Officer Ford said that he’d handcuff her, to which she responded that she had diabetes, surgeries, and that her tendons in her shoulders would tear if they touched her. She said she needed her walker, so the officers helped her stand up using it.
As Whitman and Newberry were asking her to put her arms behind her back, she quickly moved her hand to dig through her purse. Whitman grabbed one arm and Newberry held onto the purse. They put her hands behind her back and told her she couldn’t dig into any bag, because they didn’t know if she was reaching for a weapon. She eventually calmed down, and she was handcuffed from the front to be more comfortable. She was transported to a car and the rest of her items were placed into a second vehicle. Three officers began to inventory the hundreds of items that belonged to the woman.
Before she was taken to the intake officers, Newberry told her she was trespassing on campus and couldn’t come back. She complained that she was a student, but it was confirmed that she was not a current student. She was also not eligible for re-enrollment. As she was being searched by the Kent County Correctional Facility staff, she refused to walk without her walker and fell to the ground. The staff were last seen dragging her to the cell, as she still refused to walk for them, even though she had walked several times already.