Governor Whitmer announces plans for police reform to promote racial equity


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provides an update on coronavirus in Michigan during a May 26, 2020, press briefing as Dr. Joneigh Khaldu, the state’s chief medical executive, looks on. (Courtesy Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her support for police reform in Michigan, calling on Michigan law enforcement agencies to reform their training and policies to help re-define police culture.

Governor Whitmer also voiced her support for measures that require law enforcement officers to complete training on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques.

“The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor were a result of hundreds of years of inequity and institutional racism against Black Americans,” said Governor Whitmer. “Here in Michigan, we are taking action and working together to address the inequities Black Michiganders face every day. That’s why I’m calling on Michigan police departments to strengthen their training and policies to save lives and keep people safe. I am also ready to partner with the Michigan Legislature and law enforcement officials to pass police reform bills into law.” 

Governor Whitmer said she will do the following:

·  Requesting that the Michigan Commission of Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) provide guidance to law enforcement agencies on continuing education that will help officers keep up with the everchanging landscape of new laws and issues facing the community, including diversity and implicit bias training.   

·Encouraging police departments to participate in efforts that are underway on comprehensive reporting on the use of force by police departments. 

·Urging law enforcement agencies to implement duty to intervene polices.  

·The governor applauded Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren and Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green for their efforts in ensuring their officers intervene when an officer observes another officer doing something inappropriate or illegal.  

· Calling on the Legislature to act on SB 945. 

·Under Senator Irwin’s bill, SB 945, incoming law enforcement officers would be required by law to go through training on implicit bias, de-escalation techniques, and mental health screenings. 

Under the leadership of Governor Whitmer and Col. Joe Gasper, the MSP has already taken a number of actions to reform policies that will ensure MSP members treat all Michiganders with dignity and respect.  

Michigan State Police have since taken the following actions:

· Created an Equity and Inclusion Officer position within the department. 

· Set a goal to increase the racial minority trooper applicant pool to 25 percent and the female trooper applicant pool to 20 percent, in an effort to diversify the department. 

· Established community service trooper positions to institute a community policing concept statewide. 

·Posted all non-confidential department policies online to increase transparency. 

·Implemented recurring implicit bias training for all enforcement members and assisted in the development and pilot of a nationwide implicit bias training for civilian personnel. 

·Generated a public-facing transparency web portal for FOIA requests. 

·Revised the department’s pursuit policy to limit the circumstances in which MSP members can engage in a vehicle pursuit. 

In January of 2019, the governor signed Executive Order 2019-9, which requires each director of a state department and head of an autonomous agency to designate an Equity and Inclusion Officer to help strengthen non-discrimination protections for state employees. 

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