East Lansing Police survey shows concerns of safety for African Americans


EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A survey shows African-American residents in East Lansing don’t feel as safe in their community with East Lansing police compared to others.

In March, 500 East Lansing residents were interviewed about their opinion on the East Lansing police department. An oversample of 51 interviews was with African Americans.
“That is what this was really for to see to what extent African-Americans are concerned about how the police department deals with a number of different issues,” Bernie Porn, president of EPIC-MRA.

The survey shows 87% of residents feel safe, and 71% trust ELPD. Only 26% of African American had that same level of trust. It also shows African Americans feel police don’t treat them fairly and they don’t address problems in the community that concern them.

A summary of the survey was presented to a citizens police reform community but not the raw data which disappointed members.

“Because we did not see that raw data it was a little bit suspicious to the transparency of the city,” said committee member, and former Lansing officer Noel Garcia.

Garcia, an East Lansing resident also said the survey was not diverse enough.
“We had an opportunity to hear from other groups and we failed to do that,” he said.

But EPIC-MRA founder says they did have other races but that was not the focus.
“It was mostly noted in the report questioning how African Americans feel versus the entire community which is mostly white and that comparison was what we were charged it,’ said Porn.

This all comes after East Lansing officers were accused of using excessive force in several incidents.
Deputy Chief Gonzalez says they haven’t had a survey like this in years and it was needed.

“It definitely brings up some areas that we can improve on especially when it comes to establishing those relationships within the community,” said Gonzalez.

He says they’re focusing on community philosophy of policing, and they’re working on rebuilding the community’s trust.

“The key stone in our business is establishing that trust, and not just establishing it maintaining it over the course of time,” said Gonzalez.

The East Lansing committee on Police Reform Commission will continue to meet. They hope to get more community input and if put into place improve the relationship between the cops and the community.

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