Muskegon Heights PD Sharpens Its Focus On Public Safety
A close-knit community, Muskegon Heights, Michigan, is home to more than 10,000 residents. Once a thriving commercial and residential hub, it was hit hard by the economic downturn. Poverty made the area vulnerable to drugs and gang warfare, pushing violent crime rates to four times that of the national average. At the same time, budgetary constraints put pressure on the Muskegon Heights Police Department to do more with less. The department’s number of officers remained lean, and turnover was high.
Once Chief Dr. Joseph E. Thomas, Jr. took over the Muskegon Heights Police Department in 2016, his aim was to revitalize the agency and make the necessary changes to keep the streets safe and prepare Muskegon Heights for a promising future. During a recession, agencies tend to shy away from spending on technology. Not so with Chief Thomas: “My formal education has taught me that the best practice is to invest in technology, when there’s a reduction in personnel and resources.” With his mind set on rebuilding trust and accountability in the community, Chief Thomas embarked on a journey to acquire a body-worn camera solution.
Body-worn cameras can serve as extra eyes and ears in the field. Police can identify suspects who flee a scene to later call them in for questioning. Transparency created by the cameras also serves as a powerful tool for both the public and the police. “Video from a body-worn camera can put a different light on the incident, by telling the entire story.”
The Muskegon Heights PD
The Muskegon Heights Police Department has 21 sworn officers serving 10,856 residents across 3.17 square miles.
Their Technology Upgrade
A Significant First Step Forward For Public Safety
Today, all of the 20 Muskegon Heights Police Department officers wear the Si500 Video Speaker Microphone and APX 8000 Two-Way Radios. Officers are required to turn the cameras on whenever they are out of their cars and working in an official capacity.
Since the Muskegon Heights Police Department’s initial investment in the body-worn camera solution, there has been a clear improvement in accountability, legitimacy and a stronger partnership with the citizens of Muskegon Heights.
“Muskegon Heights Police Department has invested in this state-of-the-art technology in order to continue our mission to foster a better quality of life,” Chief Thomas said. “This solution helps create greater citizen engagement and transparency in our community.”