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GRPD officers begin body cam training


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Training is starting for the first Grand Rapids Police Department personnel learning to use body cameras.

GRPD will be the first agency in the country to use the Axon Body 2 camera made by TASER International.

The decision to use that model was made after a pilot program earlier this year, which helped officers learn about how they wanted the cameras to function.

This particular Axon Body 2 camera requires less officer involvement, thanks to automatic functions and other features.

The department has only received 20 of the body cameras so far, because the rest are still in production. Eventually, all 298 sworn officers will have one.

These body cameras have a longer battery life and more storage capacity. They also have a vibrate alert when the camera is recording, whereas others only have an audible alert.

When Grand Rapids police cruisers could carry rifles


UPDATE:  At the city commission meeting Tuesday evening, the purchase of more rifles for GRPD was given a final approval.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Grand Rapids Police cruisers could be equipped with rifles in the coming year following a 5-2 vote Tuesday morning.

A lengthy discussion engaged Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, city commissioners and police Chief David Rahinsky as to the purchase of roughly $69,000 for 65 rifles for 59 vehicles starting as early as summer 2016.

First Ward commissioners Walt Gutowski and Dave Shaffer voted for the proposal. So, too, did Heartwell and mayor-elect Second Ward Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss. Third Ward Commissioner Elias Lumpkins, Jr. also voted in favor.

The city is slated to spend an additional $230,000 on rifle ammo and officer training — money already allocated in the police budget.

Downtown Grand Rapids becomes a "2030 District"


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The City of Grand Rapids is taking a big step toward becoming more energy efficient.

Monday morning, Grand Rapids was officially designated a 2030 District city. The public and private partnership involves property owners and operators in downtown Grand Rapids. The 2030 Plan is a long-range policy to reduce energy use within the district, which covers nearly 10 million square feet of downtown real estate.

Grand Rapids is just the 11th city in the nation, and the 12th worldwide, to establish a 2030 district.

3 years after Sandy Hook, group marches against gun violence


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Dozens of people wearing orange marched along the streets of downtown Grand Rapids on Sunday to spread a message of peace and resolution, in wake of recent gun attacks.

The march commemorates the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, which took place on Dec. 14, 2012. The organization Moms Demand Action states on its social media page that during the past three years, they have honored victims and survivors of gun violence by calling on Congress and local governments for more realistic and logical gun policies.

The local chapter encouraged the crowd to learn more about state Senate Bill 442, which if passed would allow concealed carry in schools, churches and other public places. A candlelight vigil, walk and several guest speakers were included in Sunday's event at the Fountain Street Church.

Lawsuit against city for Plaza Towers flood damage reinstated


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The city of Grand Rapids was dealt a setback today with a Court of Appeals decision that reinstates a lawsuit filed by Plaza Towers for more than $7 million in damages caused during epic flooding in April, 2013.

Owners of the 32-story high-rise sued the city last year, claiming a pedestrian walkway cut into the flood wall contributed to river water inundating its parking garage.

A Kent County judge dismissed the case in August, saying a one-paragraph clause in a 1989 sewer agreement protects the city from litigation, even if the original signers are no longer connected with Plaza Towers.

In a 6-page decision released today, the Court of Appeals determined otherwise.

Van Andel changes bag policy for sold out Zac Brown Band concert


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Van Andel Arena has announced changes to its bag policy for Friday night's sold out show.

In a press release Thursday, the arena said patrons will only be allowed to bring in clear, plastic or vinyl bags that don't exceed the size of a one gallon Ziploc bag or small purses (4″ x 11″ maximum) without straps.

The policy is only tightened for the Zac Brown Band concert, an adjustment a spokesperson told WZZM 13 was requested by the tour.

GRPD: Be aware of scam targeting the elderly


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police are investigating two separate reports of larceny targeting elderly people who live alone. Both incidents happened in the last four weeks.

The scam involves men posing as contractors. Police say one man distracts the resident, while the others enter the home and steals valuables.

Specific dates and addresses are not being released at this time.

Kalamazoo police are also investigating a similar crime.

The Grand Rapids Police Department wants to warn the public so they don't fall victim to the scam. They said in a press release Thursday, if you did not hire a contractor to come to your home, do not let anyone you do not know inside.