MI senator introduces bill to increase police officer training and decrease excessive force
One Michigan senator has introduced a bill to "strengthen community-police relations and reduce excessive use of force by police officers," according to a news release.
Senate Bill 945, introduced by Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), would require all law enforcement officers to complete training on implicit bias, de-escalation techniques and mental health screening, according to the news release.
The additional training would be added to the certification requirements from the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES), according to the release.
“Unlike most other professionals, police officers have just seconds to make life-altering decisions — often under high-stress conditions — so it’s essential we give them all of the necessary tools to keep residents safe,” Sen Irwin said. “Officers are drilled on tactics, firearms, and forensics. They practice shooting and driving. What is missing from our fundamental police training standards are how officers can identify mental illness or their own implicit biases, and use that knowledge to de-escalate a dangerous situation."
Since 2015, more than 77 individuals have been fatally shot by officers in the state of Michigan, the release states, and nearly 50% of the fatalities were non-white individuals and close to a third were suffering from documented mental illness.
“Our community needs to change the culture that drives a wedge between police and the people they serve,” Sen. Irwin said. “Great police agencies are already training their officers in implicit bias and mental health screening. The Legislature needs to make these best practices in police training the law.”
Although some police departments in the state require some form of de-escalation, cultural competency, or implicit-bias training, Senator Irwin's bill would require every officer to receive the training as part of their initial MCOLES training and certification, the news release said.