Ingham Co. Sheriff, others react to change in prosecuting policy

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MASON, Mich. (WLNS) — Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth was joined today by members of Michigan law enforcement; responding to Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon’s new internal policy of no prosecuting contraband found in vehicles during a minor traffic stop.

Wriggelsworth stated that law enforcement tries to make ethical and lawful traffic stops and that traffic stops are a “necessary function of law enforcement”.

“The people of Ingham County deserve to know this policy puts our citizens and law enforcement task to protect and serve our community at risk”, continues Wriggelsworth.

The new policy will stop prosecution based upon non-public safety stops, which are when a person is pulled over for a minor traffic violation, and police look for evidence of a more serious crime.

Wriggelsworth cites the recent increase in violent crimes in Ingham County and suggests that a way to help combat that crime is traffic enforcement. The sheriff then goes on to say that he will not make his staff ingore the Motor Vehicle Code.

Chief of Police in Lansing Township John E. Joseph also spoke out against the policy change, saying that the racial biases that Siemon touches on are based on poverty and other socioeconomic factors,

“In my experience, the racial inequity in the criminal justice system has more to do with poverty, employment issues and access to quality education than it does with any police action…”

Joseph then goes on to discuss access to money for those living in poverty should be addressed, because many non-public traffic stops are linked to those who cannot afford materials that are required to drive.

The conference was wrapped up by Sheriff Wriggelsworth, who stated that there have been over 3600 reckless driving complaints made within the first six months of this year.

“There has to be consequences,” said Wriggelsworth.

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