GRPD to focus on ‘most egregious’ noncompliance reports

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department is urging residents to use restraint when reporting complaints related to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.

“We will do our best to address the most egregious instances of noncompliance (i.e. large house parties, open restaurants or mass gatherings). We simply do not have the capacity to answer all the other calls that come into our dispatch center related to lesser violations, while still maintaining service for true emergencies and other police related activities,” GRPD Sgt. John Wittkoswi said in a statement Wednesday.

Authorities are reminding people to use 911 only for emergencies.

It comes hours after the Michigan Attorney General’s Office asked people to direct complaints related to the governor’s stay-at-home order to local authorities. They asked for local police to enforce the order and remind residents that failing to comply could result in a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail for each violation.

In a news release Tuesday night, the AG’s office said the number of calls to its Consumer Protection Hotline has overwhelmed the system, bringing it to a standstill. The AG’s office noted it’s focusing on price-gouging and scams related to COVID-19.

Whitmer has ordered Michigan residents to stay at home unless they must leave to go grocery shopping or unless they are an essential service worker. If you’re sick, you shouldn’t leave the house at all. Restaurants are allowed only to offer drive-thru, carry-out or delivery. The goal is to keep the number of severe cases small enough that hospitals can handle them.