Gov. Whitmer calls for Michigan police reform

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 3:24 PM EDT
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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is supporting a series of policy plans for police reform in the state of Michigan, according to a news release from the governor's office.

The governor is calling on Michigan law enforcement agencies to "enhance their training and policies to help create a police culture where all Michiganders are treated with dignity and respect under the law," the release states.

The governor also said she supports measures that would require law enforcement officers to complete training on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques.

Gov. Whitmer also urged police agencies to require their officers to "intervene when they observe an excessive use of force by another officer, which will save lives and help keep people safe."

“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.”

“We recognize the shortcomings of the systems in place today—systems that have left Black, Latino, and other communities of color feeling underserved, even threatened by law enforcement,” said Lt. Governor Gilchrist. “People across Michigan have been calling for changes to police practices, and these actions are clear steps in the direction of needed reform. We are not done, and we strongly encourage cities and counties to adopt and enact local measures that build trust, accountability, and a comprehensive, non-discriminatory experience of safety for everyone in our state.”

“Police officers must have policies and training systems in place that encourage and mandate they take immediate action to intervene when observing any form of police brutality,” said Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green.

The governor's office said she is taking the following actions:

• 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.