City of East Lansing releases race data for ELPD officer-initiated contacts

City of East Lansing (Source: WILX).
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EAST LANSING, MI (WILX) -- The East Lansing Police Department has gathered race data on officer-initiated contacts, according to a news release from the City of East Lansing.

The City of East Lansing said it gathered this data following a request from the East Lansing City Council.

The city said officer-initiated contacts "include any interaction or enforcement taken by an officer at their discretion, including traffic stops. It does not include calls taken through the 911 dispatch system."

The city said the most recent data shows that African American individuals account for approximately 20% of those officer-initiated contacts, while making up about 8% of the population.

"No matter how impartial we think we are, the data shows that we over-stop African Americans, which is not acceptable," said East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier.

The City of East Lansing said at the next city council meeting, which will be a discussion-only meeting, the council will discuss additional steps to promote fair and impartial policing.

The city said the steps will include establishing an independent Police Oversight Commission and analyzing race data with respect to use of force.

The City of East Lansing said interim Police Chief Steve Gonzalez will also be making the following changes:
- Race data on officer-initiated stops will be released every month. Senior command will provide regular feedback to officers based on the data.
- The entire sworn police staff will attend the Michigan State Police Fair and Impartial Policing Training this summer.
- Eight command and police officers will travel to Detroit to attend the 17th Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference hosted by 3D Consulting and Communications. This conference is a multi-dimensional approach to diversity training and cultural competency.
- By the end of 2020, all sworn personnel will have been through a proctored visit of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University. This visit focuses on how the United States’ history of racism impacts communities, including policing.
- An additional ten police officers will attend the Conversations about Race series sponsored by the Michigan State University Police Department.

“We are committed to making these changes and any other changes needed to make sure that everyone feels safe and welcome in the City of East Lansing,” said Mayor Beier.

The City of East Lansing said it began compiling the date back in February of this year.

To view a break down of the data, click to the right of this article.

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