LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – An effort to bring the community and law enforcement closer together.
Officials from the Ingham and Clinton County Sheriff’s offices joined with the Lansing, MSU and East Lansing Police Departments came together at a forum on Thursday night and invited the public in for an open discussion about race relations and other divisive topics.
The forum was all about bridging the gap between local law enforcement and people in the community.
Leaders from the local law enforcement departments all took turns talking about their own department’s procedures and policies when it comes to racial profiling and racial justice.
They also outlined the steps they take to interact with the community and briefed the crowd on the most common crimes seen in their jurisdiction.
From the talks it’s clear the agencies there are serious about the training each officer goes through to reduce racial profiling.
Some of the departments keep records of every traffic stop while others provide anti-bias training for officers or deputies.
They also aim to combat racial profiling during background checks when hiring new officers.
But no matter what the procedure in each department is, all say they want the community to know that discrimination is not tolerated.
“Our interactions with individuals is because of a crime issue or behavior issue and a lot of times law enforcement gets put in to a situation is because of a call for service and then if there is any type of complaint or a citizen believes that they were treated differently because of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation that there are avenues for them to make that complaint,” said Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski.
“Police officers are working to improve all the time and to actually have data that shows what it is they’re doing and I really think they’re working to do a good job,” Lansing Resident Margaret Kingsbury stated.
Every agency represented says they’re proud of the community outreach and training their officers have, but also say there’s always room for improvement.
They encourage the public to reach out to their local law enforcement whenever they have concerns.